MusicWeb Says Pittsburgh Symphony in “World Class Form”

“Consistently impressive is the ongoing ‘Pittsburgh Live!’ series from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under its music director Manfred Honeck. I made its release of the Beethoven Symphonies No’s 5 and 7 as one of my ‘Records of the Year’ for 2015. Now for the fifth album in this enthusiastically admired series Honeck has turned his attention to Tchaikovsky’s enduringly popular Sixth Symphony ‘Pathétique’ together with the world première recording of the newly arranged ‘Rusalka Fantasy’. … This is a beautifully proportioned reading by Honeck and in the opening movement, Allegro non troppo I was struck by the crisp and engaging playing.… From start to finish the Allegro con grazia flows elegantly with all the dreamlike elegance of a Viennese waltz. Under Honeck the strikingly played Scherzo evokes a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ scene of nocturnal reverie of elves, fairies and spirits deep in the forest. The way Honeck builds up the orchestral weight and volume is compellingly dramatic. Remarkable is how Tchaikovsky manages to close the symphony with a slow movement. The descending phrases create a deep melancholy together with a chorale of sorrow on the brass and winds as if mirroring the human spirit slowly fading away. This cry of anguish is probably unequalled in the history of music. Honeck and his Pittsburgh players obtain a maelstrom of emotions that can leave the listener crushed. With the Pittsburgh orchestra on world class form this is a moving account of the ‘Pathétique’ Symphony that can join the echelons of the finest recordings.…[Tomáš Ille's ‘Rusalka Fantasy’] is a most rewarding score full of fascinating ideas which aptly demonstrates Dvořák’s creative power. The ‘Rusalka Fantasy’ is a work that I can see being taken up in the concert hall.” —Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International

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

Dvořák: Rusalka Fantasy (arr. Honeck/Ille)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, Music Director

Reference Recordings
Native DSD
Arkiv Music

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