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
Total time: 01:02:04
|Original Recording Format|
Mark Donahue – Sound Mirror
Bruel & Kjaer
Dirk Sobotka – Sound Mirror
John Newton, Harold Chambers
Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh, PA
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||September 9, 2014|
The Czech composer, Dvorak was influenced by German and American cultures in addition to Czech. In addition to this fine recording, very recent performances at the Kravis center revealed how popular compositions by others of Dvorak’s symphonies have been very well received. True, number nine is probably the favorite. Line notes mention passages played by the flute and they are fully realized here. Dvorak’s symphonies are nearly all very popular and rightly so. The excellent Pittsburg group is as good as they come as revealed here. Manfred Honeck uses his own efforts here with his favorite excerpts from the opera Jenufa. Not quite the beauty of Dvork though interesting on its own and worthwhile on its own. All in all, a very well performed program by the Pittsburg group. Basically, they are “as good as they get now.
The Absolute Sound
Music: 5 Sonics: 5
Manfred Honeck’s recording of Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony is as satisfying as any I know; including classic versions conducted by Ketész and Kubelik. This energetically paced performance has a Brahmsian rigor but doesn’t slight the symphony’s wonderfully bucolic character. The disc is filled out with the Symphonic Suite from Jenúfa. With great economy, the 23-minute work captures the emotional trajectory of Jancek’s best-known opera, communicating fully a sense of dread, fear, shame, horror, and finally, in the Suite’s moving final section—redemption through love The ensemble impresses with robustly unified strings, refined woodwinds, and powerfully coherent brass. The SACD is in Reference’s Fresh! series, and thus not the work of the venerable engineer Keith Johnson. lt is, instead, the work of the equally venerable Boston-based Soundmirror, Inc. with a hand from the PSO’s own recordist, Howard Chambers. Five DPA 4006’s constituted the main microphone array, which fed a Pyramix DSD workstation The result is a spacious yet detailed sonic presentation that “gels” beautifully in stereo, but especially in multichannel. There’s nuance and power in equal proportions, with exceptionally natural scaling and timbral reproduction of both orchestral sections and individual instruments.
The sound quality of this 5.1channel 64fs DSD recording made by the Soundmirror team is, as usual, first class in every possible way. The marvelous playing of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is captured with thrilling realism in sound that does full justice to both the warmth of the Pittsburgh strings and their phenomenal brass section (the brilliance and confidence of the trumpet playing that opens the fourth movement of the Dvo?ák symphony is typical of the latter).
I recommend without hesitation this spectacular SACD and look forward keenly to future releases in this ‘Pittsburgh Live!’ series.
(…) Stunningly played and recorded this winning release deserves significant praise.
This album is a sonic blockbuster!
The Janacek Jenufa suite is one that Honeck created and was arranged by Czech composer Tomas Ille. It seeks (successfully) to present the main dramatic portions of the opera in sequence, reflecting the varied and often sad and stormy moments of the work, essentially creating a tone poem of highly descriptive provenance of utterly moving proportions. 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!
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