Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Classical CD Review Features Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony

“For Reference Recodings, there are SACDs of Strauss symphonic poems, and Dvorák's Symphony No. 8 coupled with a suite from Janacek's opera Jenufa. Now we have three more SACDS of live recordings all made in the fine acoustics of Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. All of these are superlative, virtuoso performances. The Beethoven symphonies are high energy throughout, with a rather frantic but exiting pace for the final two movements of Symphony No. 7. The Bruckner symphony also is impressive, challenging the finest other versions , with a scherzo of unusual power. Competition is keener for the Tchaikovsky symphony. A plus is the mightily impressive huge gong preceding the final pages of the symphony. Whatever the specifications of the instrument, it produces a soft but massive lasting sound that doubtless is what the composer had un mind. The suite from Rusalka, arranged by the conductor, is an intriguing filler, and of course it includes the famous Song to the Moon, exquisitely played by the Pittsburgh strings. All of these impress and are important additions to the catalog.” —R.E.B., Classical CD Review

Read the full review on ClassicalCDReview.com


Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74

Dvořák: Rusalka Fantasy (arr. Honeck/Ille)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, Music Director
FR-720

Reference Recordings
Amazon
iTunes
Native DSD
Arkiv Music

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dawn To Dust “A Valuable Addition”

Classical Voice North America are fans of Andrew Norman and his new work Switch recorded by the Utah Symphony and Thierry Fischer on Dawn To Dust:

“[Dawn To Dust] sets off into new territory with three commissioned pieces that the Utah Symphony performed and recorded last year.…Switch, by the omnipresent Andrew Norman, is the longest and most interesting piece here, virtually a percussion concerto for the nimble hands of Colin Currie, who is kept very busy with his arsenal of sticks and mallets. As per Norman’s well-known fixation on video games, the percussionist caroms all over the orchestra in a short-attention-span landscape that constantly changes at high speed. There are meditative troughs which give the soloist some much-needed rest, but the pinball machine (in Currie’s vivid description) starts up again soon enough; eventually he finds some peace at the end on a simple E major scale. … give Fischer and Utah plenty of credit for enterprise, joining their orchestral colleagues further west in bringing some new music onto disc. Given the frequency in which Norman’s music is played nationwide, there is shockingly little Norman available on CD, so this SACD automatically becomes a valuable addition to his slim discography.” —Richard S Ginell, Classical Voice North America

Dawn To Dust



Monday, June 27, 2016

“Thoughtful and Thought-Provoking” Tchaikovsky

John Quinn reviews Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony's Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 and Dvořák Rusalka recording in MusicWeb International:

“In summary Honeck’s performance of this symphony is a thoughtful and thought-provoking rendition of a score that can suffer from over-familiarity.” —John Quinn, MusicWeb International

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74

Dvořák: Rusalka Fantasy (arr. Honeck/Ille)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, Music Director
FR-720

Reference Recordings
Amazon
iTunes
Native DSD
Arkiv Music

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Wall Street Journal Features Utah Symphony and “Switch”

The Wall Street Journal published a double-review of recent percussion concerto performances and featured the Utah Symphony and Colin Currie's performance of Andrew Norman's Switch at Carnegie Hall:

“…the Utah Symphony and its music director, Thierry Fischer, presented Mr. Norman’s “Switch,” with Mr. Currie as the intrepid, energetic soloist. When the concerto began, the percussionist was nowhere in sight. A few minutes later, he bounded onstage from the auditorium and began his solo perambulations, moving rapidly yet gracefully across the Carnegie stage amid a profusion of instruments—about 45 in all.

Inspired by the dizzying pace of video games, this 28-minute work uses the percussionist as a “switch” who triggers music of different characters from other orchestral sections. As the fitful and episodic piece unfolds, snatches of melodic themes in the strings, woodwinds or brass are fired off but interrupted, disrupting linear flow like a filmmaker cutting to and from different time periods. The concerto, available on a Utah Symphony disc for Reference Recordings, ends as quietly as it begins, upending expectations. Both “Switch” and “Conjurer” are meaningful contributions to the percussion concerto repertoire.” —Barbara Jepson, The Wall Street Journal

See the full review in The Wall Street Journal


Dawn To Dust



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pittsburgh Symphony Tchaikovsky/Dvořák is “Outstanding”

“Any new disc from this particular team is usually an event, and this one keeps up the trend. It's unusual to find a leading conductor who doesn't seem set on setting down complete cycles of everything. Manfred Honeck's discography is highly selective, and all the better for it.… Honeck's careful handling of Tchaikovsky's dynamic markings pays enormous dividends. Some passages exist on the very edge of audibility and the ffff explosions will rattle your sash windows. … But the excellence of the playing and sound engineering never draws undue attention to itself; what's compelling is the intelligence and musicality of the performance. … Light relief of sorts comes in the form of a single-movement Rusalka Fantasy based on Dvořák’s opera, assembled by Honeck and the Czech composer Tomás Ille. It works beautifully… An outstanding disc, and not just for audiophiles.” —Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk

Read the full review on The Arts Desk


Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74

Dvořák: Rusalka Fantasy (arr. Honeck/Ille)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, Music Director
FR-720

Reference Recordings
Amazon
iTunes
Native DSD
Arkiv Music

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kansas City Symphony Recording Preview Concert This Week!

Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 7pm

Join Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony at the Kauffman Center's Helzberg Hall for a FREE concert featuring repertoire from their next exciting RR project!

More Information

Program

  • Barber: Symphony No. 1
  • Sibelius: Symphony No. 7
  • Scriabin: Poem of Ecstasy

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pittsburgh Symphony Tchaikovsky/Dvořák is “electrifying”

“I believe most of you would agree that not many composers quite match Tchaikovsky when it comes to conjuring up a sense of ‘drama’ in music. And especially the way he applies some of the most beautiful melodies to emotionally passionate moments is quite gripping. Include his preponderance for extensive tension escalation and perfectly timed release, and you have the perfect recipe for electrifying music. He certainly knew how to create vivid images in music. Add to this the nervous energy of a live concert as we have here, and you're in for an emotional roller coaster. For example, there's an enormous amount of passionate energy released at the 13:00 mark of the first movement that is exceptionally well captured by Manfred Honeck and exceptionally well projected by the Pittsburgh players, and then followed by an overwhelming sense of calm at the end with a long, sustained chord perfectly pitched by the brass section. … Best of all is the profound sense of pathos radiating from every strand of the final Adagio Lamentoso movement in which the Pittsburgh string section gets to shine. In the final two minutes alone, with its pseudo failing heartbeat rhythmic pulse, the lower strings are darkness shrouded in darkness, the epitome of intense gravity, and this account leaves a profound impression. … the Rusalka Fantasy by Antonin Dvorak, actually arranged as a suite from the opera by Manfred Honeck himself…[is] upbeat and buoyant opening pages completely break the spell cast on you by the final moments of the Tchaikovsky symphony. Such a powerful effect of music should be allowed to linger on the mind. … if you're looking for an up-to-date, live, full-spectrum SACD recording, you can't do much better than this.” —Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel

Read the full review on ClassicalMusicSentinel.com

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74

Dvořák: Rusalka Fantasy (arr. Honeck/Ille)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, Music Director
FR-720

Reference Recordings
Amazon
iTunes
Native DSD
Arkiv Music