Dvorak - Janacek (2014)

Dvorak, Janacek

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Manfred Honeck

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

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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.

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.

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Dvorak - Janacek (2014)

Dvorak, Janacek

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

    Positive Feedback

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.

Karl Lozier[read full review]

    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.

Andrew Quint

    SA-CD.net

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.

Graham Williams[read full review]

    Musicweb International

(...) Stunningly played and recorded this winning release deserves significant praise.

Michael Cookson

    Audiophile Audition -

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!

Steven Ritter[read full review]

Dvorak - Janacek (2014)

Dvorak, Janacek

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Digital Converters: Horus Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Mark Donahue - Sound Mirror
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer
Producer: Dirk Sobotka - Sound Mirror
Recording Engineer: John Newton, Harold Chambers
Recording location: Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh, PA
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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This album is available as ST+MCH download (Stereo + Multichannel)
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FR-710SACD: Dvorak - Janacek
01:02:04   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Symphony No. 8 in G Major, op. 88 - I. Allegro con brio
Dvorak
00:10:05   N/A
2.
Symphony No. 8 in G Major, op. 88 - II. Adagio
Dvorak
00:11:44   N/A
3.
Symphony No. 8 in G Major, op. 88 - III. Allegretto grazioso
Dvorak
00:06:02   N/A
4.
Symphony No. 8 in G Major, op. 88 - IV. Allegro ma non troppo
Dvorak
00:11:14   N/A
5.
Symphonic Suite from Jenufa
Janacek
00:22:59   N/A

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