Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, Leshnoff Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon (2020)

Leshnoff, Tchaikovsky

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck

Manfred Honeck

"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.”

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Manfred Honeck

Manfred Honeck has served as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. After two extensions his contract will run until the end of the 2019-2020 season. His successful work in Pittsburgh is captured on CD by the Japanese label Exton. So far, Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben have been released to critical acclaim. The recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 has won an ICMA 2012 Award. Manfred Honeck and his orchestra present themselves regularly to the European audience. Since 2010, annual tour performances have led them to numerous European music capitals and major music festivals, amongst them Rheingau Musik Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Musikfest Berlin, Grafenegg Festival, Lucerne Festival and the BBC Proms. The 2012 tour focused on a week-long residency at the Vienna Musikverein. In August and September 2013, concerts took place in Grafenegg, Berlin, Bucharest, Paris, Du?sseldorf, Frankfurt, Lucerne and Bonn. From 2007 to 2011, Manfred Honeck was Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart where he conducted premieres including Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Verdi’s Aida, Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites and Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal as well as numerous symphonic concerts. His operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

For more than 115 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has been an essential part of Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape. The PSO, known for its artistic excellence, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. This tradition was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck assumed the position of Music Director with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Heading the list of internationally recognized conductors to have led the PSO is Victor Herbert, Music Director between 1898 and 1904, who influenced the early development of the PSO. Preceding Herbert was Frederic Archer (1896-1899), the first Pittsburgh Orchestra Conductor. The Orchestra’s solidification as an American institution took place in the late 1930s under the direction of Maestro Otto Klemperer. Conductors prior to Klemperer were Emil Paur (1904-1910), Elias Breeskin (1926-1930) and Antonio Modarelli (1930-1937). From 1938 to 1948, under the dynamic directorship of Fritz Reiner, the Orchestra embarked on a new phase of its history, making its first international tour and its first commercial recording. The PSO’s standard of excellence was maintained and enhanced through the inspired leadership of William Steinberg during his quarter-century as Music Director between 1952 and 1976. André Previn (1976-1984) led the Orchestra to new heights through tours, recordings and television, including the PBS series, Previn and the Pittsburgh. Lorin Maazel began his relationship with the PSO in 1984 as Music Consultant but later served as a highly regarded Music Director from 1988-1996. As Music Director from 1997-2004, Mariss Jansons furthered the artistic growth of the orchestra, and upon his departure, the PSO created an innovative leadership model with Artistic Advisor Sir Andrew Davis, Principal Guest Conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier and Endowed Guest Conductor Chair Marek Janowski. These three conductors formed the primary artistic leadership for the Orchestra until January 2007, when the PSO selected Honeck to take the reins at the start of the 2008-2009 season. In February 2012, Honeck agreed to extend his contract with the PSO through the 2019-2020 season.

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Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, Leshnoff Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon (2020)

Leshnoff, Tchaikovsky

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck

    AV Magazine

Recording of the Month, June 2020: “da passione giovanile a riferimento dei miei seminari di musica, la Sinfonia n. 4 di Tchaikovsky mi ha accompagnato in 40 anni di ascolti. La nuova incisione Reference Recording diretta da Honeck, disponibile in SACD e file DSD sino al 256 in due e in cinque canali suona meglio di sempre”

Marco Cicogna[read full review]

    NativeDSD Mastering Lab

An outstanding reading of the Tchaikovsky 4th!!

Tom Caulfield

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, Leshnoff Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon (2020)

Leshnoff, Tchaikovsky

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck

Digital Converters: Horus, Merging Technologies
Editing Software: Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Mastering Engineer: Mark Donahue
Microphones: DPA 4006
Producer: Dirk Sobotka
Recording Engineer: Mark Donahue
Recording location: Recorded Live at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh, PA on May 6-8, 2016 (Tchaikovsky) and June 6-9, 2019 (Leshnoff)
Recording Software: Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD 256

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This album is available as ST+MCH download (Stereo + Multichannel)
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FR738: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, Leshnoff Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon
01:01:00   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 - I. Andante sostenuto - Moderato con anima
Tchaikovsky
00:18:55   Select quality & channels above
2.
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 - II. Andantino in modo di Canzone
Tchaikovsky
00:10:15   Select quality & channels above
3.
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 - III. Scherzo - Pizzicato ostinato - Allegro
Tchaikovsky
00:05:33   Select quality & channels above
4.
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 - IV. Finale - Allegro con fuoco
Tchaikovsky
00:08:47   Select quality & channels above
5.
Leshnoff Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon - Movement I
Leshnoff
00:06:50   Select quality & channels above
6.
Leshnoff Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon - Movement II
Leshnoff
00:02:45   Select quality & channels above
7.
Leshnoff Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon - Movement III
Leshnoff
00:07:55   Select quality & channels above

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