"An outstanding reading of the Tchaikovsky 4th!!" -- Tom Caulfield, NativeDSD Mastering Lab
Reference Recordings proudly presents Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in an exquisite interpretation from Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It is coupled with a World Premiere recording of leading American composer Jonathan Leshnoff’s Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon, featuring the extraordinary talents of the Pittsburgh Symphony’s own Principal Clarinet Michael Rusinek and Principal Bassoon Nancy Goeres.
This album was recorded live in beautiful and historic Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in superb DSD 256 sound. Maestro Honeck honors us again with his meticulous music notes, in which he gives us great insight into his interpretation as well as the history and musical structure of Tchaikovsky’s great Symphony No. 4. This release is the newest in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series of DSD Stereo and DSD Multichannel releases on the Fresh! imprint from Reference Recordings.
This is a Live Native DSD 256 Stereo and DSD 256 Multichannel recording from the team at Soundmirror using DPA 4006 microphones and the Horus Analog to DSD 256 converter from Merging Technologies. It is available at the recorded DSD 256 Stereo and DSD 256 Multichannel bit rates exclusively from NativeDSD Music. It is also available in Stereo and Multichannel DSD 128, DSD 64, and DXD as well as a special Stereo DSD 512 edition.
The Fourth Symphony, composed between December 1876 and January 1878 is strongly autobiographical and provides a clear look into Tchaikovsky’s mental and emotional state at the time. It is therefore not surprising that the very sensitive Tchaikovsky did not illuminate the human connection between himself and von Meck in the music. Rather, this Symphony is about darkness and suffering, but also hope and light. At once, it is on the edge of despair- depressed, hopeless, broken, melancholic and gloomy; but there is also an incredible counterpoint- courageous, self- confident, joyful, optimistic, wild, and blissful. Perhaps this great contrast has something to do with Tchaikovsky’s own life and destiny, as this Symphony is the first of the three so-called fate symphonies which culminate in the “Pathetique.” Here, Tchaikovsky writes deeply from his soul, painting his various emotional states in the music, at once depressed, but also highly euphoric. In this light, the music seems to provide certain stability in his life.
It is therefore not surprising that Tchaikovsky gave the first of his three fate symphonies a program. Shortly after the premiere of “her” symphony, von Meck asked Tchaikovsky to explain the program to her, famously done in his reply of 1 March 1878. But similar to Gustav Mahler, who wrote a program for his First Symphony and later withdrew it, Tchaikovsky never included the program in the score as it was not intended for the public. It is also not a literary program and does not tell a story or plot, though it does shed light on Tchaikovsky’s emotional world during the composition.
Tchaikovsky himself also spoke of the program to Sergei Taneyev, his student, fellow composer and trusted musician friend, writing: “As to your remark that my symphony is programmatic, then I am in complete agreement. [...] I should not wish symphonic works to flow from my pen that express nothing, and which consist of empty playing with chords, rhythms, and modulations. [...] But the program is such that it is impossible to formulate in words. [...] But is this not what a symphony, that is, the most lyrical of all musical forms, ought to be? Ought it not to express everything for which there are no words, but which gushes forth from the soul and cries out to be expressed? [...] In essence, my symphony is an imitation of Beethoven’s Fifth, that is, I was imitating not his musical thoughts, but the fundamental idea. [...] Furthermore, I’ll add that there is not a note in this symphony (that is, in mine) which I did not feel deeply, and which did not serve as an echo of sincere impulses within my soul.”