Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky said of his Symphony No. 6: “But I absolutely consider it to be the best, and in particular, the most sincere of all my creations. I love it as I have never loved any of my other musical offspring.”
The comprehensive notes by Manfred Honeck offer an in-depth look into the composer’s soul and a fascinating look at the mind and decisions of a great conductor. To quote from Honeck’s music notes: “it is undoubtedly clear that Tchaikovsky truly put all of his soul into this unique masterpiece. I dare to say that in a way, Tchaikovsky experienced his own death through the music. One can be sure that only somebody who is deeply empathetic about both life and death can be capable of creating such an atmosphere and I am deeply grateful for the great musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra who went with me on this journey, requiring the utmost technical perfection to reach such a level of expression.”
This album also includes the world premiere of the “Rusalka Fantasy,” an orchestral suite that is drawn from Dvorák’s opera by Mr. Honeck and arranger Tomás Ille.
Total time: 01:06:52
|Original Recording Format|
Mark Donahue, John Newton (Sondmirror, Boston)
Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh, PA. USA
Pyramix, Merging Technologies
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||May 13, 2016|
Classical Music Sentinel
“I believe most of you would agree that not many composers quite match Tchaikovsky when it comes to conjuring up a sense of “drama” in music. And especially the way he applies some of the most beautiful melodies to emotionally passionate moments is quite gripping. Include his preponderance for extensive tension escalation and perfectly timed release, and you have the perfect recipe for electrifying music. He certainly knew how to create vivid images in music.
Add to this the nervous energy of a live concert as we have here, and you’re in for an emotional roller coaster. For example, there’s an enormous amount of passionate energy released at the 13:00 mark of the first movement that is exceptionally well captured by Manfred Honeck and exceptionally well projected by the Pittsburgh players, and then followed by an overwhelming sense of calm at the end with a long, sustained chord perfectly pitched by the brass section. And even more cheers and bravos to the brass players for their tour de force acrobatics during the Allegro Molto Vivace third movement, a moment in music that feels like a march onward to victory on an epic scale. Best of all is the profound sense of pathos radiating from every strand of the final Adagio Lamentoso movement in which the Pittsburgh string section gets to shine. In the final two minutes alone, with its pseudo failing heartbeat rhythmic pulse, the lower strings are darkness shrouded in darkness, the epitome of intense gravity, and this account leaves a profound impression.
If you’re looking for an up-to-date, live, full-spectrum recording, you can’t do much better than this.”
The Arts Desk
Any new album from this particular team is usually an event, and this one keeps up the trend.…But the excellence of the playing and sound engineering never draws undue attention to itself; what’s compelling is the intelligence and musicality of the performance. …It works beautifully… An outstanding album, and not just for audiophiles.”
Graham Williams for HRAudio.net
“It is fair to say that Manfred Honeck’s series of live recordings with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra of music by Richard Strauss, Dvorak, Bruckner and Beethoven on the Reference Recordings Fresh! label have been revelatory, even to those listeners who are very familiar with the works featured on them that are, by and large, cornerstones of the orchestral repertoire.
The main work on this latest release is Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor and in an engrossing twelve page essay in the liner notes Honeck first discusses the genesis of the Symphony and speculates on its probable secret programme. These notes are almost worth the price of the album.
From the first bars it is clear that this is to be a pretty special account of the Symphony. It is no surprise then to find that the ‘Rusalka Fantasy’ is almost like a newly minted Dvorak orchestral masterpiece. The PSO’s scintillating performance of the suite makes it a most welcome and imaginative addition to the catalogue.
The skilled recording team (Soundmirror, Boston) have ensured that these recordings, made and post produced in DSD 256, are in every way worthy of the performances enshrined on this album.
There is no doubt that the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are fortunate to have such a perceptive Music Director with a meticulous care for detail and the ability to deliver performances of such consistently high quality. But Manfred Honeck is equally blessed with a supremely accomplished virtuoso orchestra who can fulfil his wishes to the letter. Long may this partnership continue and, hopefully, yield many more such involving, and often spine-tingling, recordings as these.”
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