Dvorak, Janacek – Symphony No. 8, Symphonic Suite – Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck (2014)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz | Time – 01:02:02 minutes | 6,12 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic | © Reference Recordings
Recorded: October 11-13, 2013
Nominated for 2015 GRAMMY Award! Best Orchestral Performance.
For more than 116 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been known for its artistic excellence. The PSO has a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians. Past conductors include the legendary names of Reiner, Steinberg, Previn, Maazel,and other greats. This tradition was furthered in fall 2008, when celebrated Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra..
The PSO is critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras, and has completed more than 36 international tours, including 20 European tours, eight trips to the Far East, and two to South America. The PSO was the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican in January 2004 for the late Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee celebration.
The PSO also has a long history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. As early as 1936, the PSO broadcast coast-to-coast, receiving increased national attention in 1982 when it began network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International. The PRI series with the PSO can be heard on Classical WQED-FM 89.3 in Pittsburgh. Many PSO recordings remain in print and available, and they have won critical acclaim and many awards..
This release and the entire “Pittsburgh Live!”series are recorded and mastered by the team at Soundmirror, whose outstanding orchestral, solo, opera, and chamber recordings have received over 70 GRAMMY nominations and awards! Soundmirror has recorded for every major classical record label, now including Reference Recordings.
I am pleased to pair the Dvorak Symphony no. 8 with my own original version of the Janacek Symphonic Suite from Jenufa which was arranged by the Czech composer Tomas Ille. For me, it was particularly important to present the most significant moments of the opera story in this suite. This includes the emotions of Jenufa, the sadness of losing a child, drama and storminess, and also the conciliatory ending. I also used three dances from the opera Jenufa that are all very typical of the Czech style. Throughout, the xylophone plays a special role and serves as a connecting element between the various sections. —Manfred Honeck
Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 (not E minor as it says on the packaging), is one of the great listener favorites in the entire canon of Romantic symphonies, and it would seem difficult to add much to what previous musicians have found in it. The venerable Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its Austrian conductor, Manfred Honeck, manage to do so on two counts in this live recording. The first set of innovations lies in Honeck’s interpretation of the symphony, which is broad and gloriously noisy in the outer movements, and given to a sentimental sheen in the slow movement and Allegretto grazioso. You might love the finale or you might find its variations in tempo and its pounding timpani strokes a bit over the top, but there is no doubting the energy Honeck brings to the work, nor the careful way the powerhouse finale is set up (Honeck takes it as the work’s center in a way that other conductors do not), nor the performance of the symphony’s brass section. The second major innovation is the pairing of the Symphony No. 8 with a new Symphonic Suite from Janácek’s opera Jenufa, carried out in disregard for the composer’s prohibition against such suite-making. The suite was “conceptualized” by Honeck and executed by Czech composer Tomás Ille. It alternates dances that begin very close to where Dvorák left off with more dramatic junctures from this tragic opera, and it makes a nifty counterpart to the Dvorák. The engineers from the confidently named Reference Recordings label out of San Francisco remind you that the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Heinz Hall is an underrated American acoustic treasure, and in all this SACD release is a fine pick for an album that will show off a good pair of speakers and have all the listeners stomping their feet along with the symphony’s apotheosis-of-the-dance finale. —AllMusic Review by James Manheim
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Symphony No. 8 in E Minor, op.88
1. I. Allegro con brio 10:04
2. II. Adagio 11:44
3. III. Allegretto grazioso 6:02
4. IV. Allegro ma non troppo 11:14
Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)
5. Symphonic Suite from “Jenufa” 22:58
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, conductor