Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Arts Desk Says Dvořák & Janáček is “Beyond Criticism”

The Arts Desk's Graham Rickson has a new rave for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Manfred Honeck's latest FRESH! From Reference Recordings SACD:

“Dvořák's…Eighth [symphony] is the most radical, and Manfred Honeck's remarkable performance highlights its originality in some style. …[Honeck] justifies every interpretive decision in his sleeve notes, and the musical results are pretty special. … What follows is electrifying – an exuberant adrenalin rush… Reach the close, and you'll hopefully be awestruck. Cheap thrills and vulgarity are avoided. This is one of the great orchestral recordings – trust me. Playing and production values are beyond criticism. … And there's an intriguing coupling too – an orchestral suite from Janáček's opera Jenůfa, compiled by Honeck with the help of composer Tomáš Ille. … If you're not weeping at the suite's apotheosis, you've got no soul. Buy or download multiple copies for yourself and your loved ones – they will thank you for it.” —Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BBC Music Magazine Gives Five Stars to Pittsburgh Symphony's “Strauss”

BBC Music Magazine gives the Pittsburgh Symphony's Strauss recording five stars!

“Manfred Honeck’s interpretations have huge personality, and mostly in the right way. … The poetry is intense, yielding in Don Juan the most beautiful oboe cantilena ever. … The orchestra plays passionately and luminously, with the brass thrusting when they need to be. … the recorded Strauss celebrations are going well in 150th-anniversary year.” —David Nice, BBC Music Magazine

Read the full review on BBC Music Magazine Online

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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Pittsburgh Symphony Gets Five Stars from Audiophile Audition

Critic Steven Ritter says the new Pittsburgh Symphony recording is “Interpretatively and sonically, this is one of the best releases of the Dvorak 8th I have ever heard.” in a new Five-Star Review:

“This album only confirms the fact that the Pittsburgh Symphony, always one of America’s greatest and most underrated orchestras, now tops the list in both interpretative finesse and recorded sound. … Phrasing is perfect; he lingers some places where others may not, but never to excess, and always to enhance the dramatic curve of each movement and the symphony as a whole. There are numerous places in the orchestration, enhanced by the superb Super Audio sound, that reflect a lot of consideration to native Czech style and Honeck’s own unique philosophy regarding how this music should be performed. … And again, the sound will simply blow you away. Never have I heard either of these works in such a stunningly brilliant aural perspective, and the effect—assuming you are listening on a good sound system—is thrilling. Don't miss this one!” —Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

MusicWeb International Says Miraculous Metamorphoses is “Well Worth Hearing”

MusicWeb International's John Quinn has a new review for the Kansas City Symphony's Miraculous Metamorphoses recording:

“Stern has selected a challenging and exciting programme.… Stern and his players put the music across with dash and no little brilliance. This [Hindemith] score has been a favourite of mine ever since I first encountered it through Abbado’s Decca recording over forty years ago. I enjoyed this Kansas performance very much. … There’s much to admire in the Prokofiev too. … The playing is crisp and pointed and the orchestra puts the music across convincingly. … This is an impressively played and engineered programme and the convenience of having these three works on the same disc is not to be sneezed at. If the programme attracts you as much as it attracts me I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. …well worth hearing.” —John Quinn

Read the full review on MusicWeb International!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Classical Candor Reviews Dvořák and Janáček

Classical Candor's John J. Puccio has a new review for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's new Dvořák & Janáček SACD:

“This new rendering of [Dvořák] No. 8 by Manfred Honeck and his Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on a live Reference Recordings Fresh! hybrid SACD stacks up pretty well. … There is great exuberance in the conductor's handling of the various themes, while the sounds of nature, like the birdsong of the flute, create a truly sweet atmosphere. … [The Janáček Jenfua Suite] is also quite colorful music, filled with a bit of swirling boisterousness, too, and under Honeck it makes an especially entertaining piece of music. Love that xylophone. …insofar as live recordings go, this one is quite good. While it is fairly close up in the manner of most live recordings, it seldom sounds bright or edgy. In fact, in the two-channel stereo mode to which I listened, it's mostly rather smooth and warm, with plenty of midrange transparency. If one didn't sense the presence of an audience through their breathing and occasional wheezing, one might think this were a studio recording.” —John J. Puccio

Read the full review on the Classical Candor Blog.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ClassicsToday gives top scores to the new Pittsburgh Symphony SACD!

ClassicsToday gives a 10/10 for Artistic Quality and a 10/10 for Sound Quality to the new Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Dvořák & Janáček recording, hailing it as “Honeck's Incandescent Dvořák 8th!”

“There are few things more wonderful in the life of a record collector than a really great recording of a repertory warhorse. … along comes a performance by a conductor who loves the music, who has genuine ideas about how it should go and what it reveals, who leads a great orchestra in a performance that makes us listen to the piece afresh, and who reaffirms our belief not just in this particular work but in what it means to be a “classic”. Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra offer just such an interpretation. Honeck’s personal touches are numerous and completely winning. … Releases of this quality offer more than just an enjoyable listening experience. They are events of profound beauty and musical significance.” —David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Pizzicato Magazine with a Rave for the Pittsburgh Symphony!

Luxemburg's Pizzicato Magazine has a new rave review for the Pittsburgh Symphony and their new Dvořák and Janáček recording:

“This is one of the most gripping performances of Dvořák's 8th Symphony that I ever heard. Honeck and Pittsburgh excel themselves and definitely team up to one of those great partnerships like Solti and Chicago, Ozawa and Boston, Bernstein and New York, Szell and Cleveland, Tilson-Thomas and San Francisco.” —Alain Steffen, Pizzicato

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