Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6; Dvorák: Rusalka Fantasyby Manfred Honeck
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra used to be a major fixture on the American recording scene, but has not been heard from much in the early 21st century. Two events have come together to change that: the rise of the in-house symphony orchestra label and the arrival of Pittsburgh's hot new Austrian conductor, Manfred Honeck. This release shows what the fuss is about. If you were wondering why you had never heard of the "Rusalka Fantasy" of Antonín Dvorák, that's because it hadn't existed prior to Honeck, who made an orchestral arrangement of music from the opera and commissioned this abridgement of it. The work brings together some wonderful Dvorák melodies that are little known in most places. The main attraction is the Tchaikovsky "Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 (Pathétique)," which here receives one of its strongest performances in years. The opening movement is extraordinary -- restless, yet sculpted down to the smallest details -- and throughout, the symphony has a sense of suppressed passion that works very well. The third movement is not the freestanding Russian march into which it is so often made, but forms a closely connected unit with the grim finale. The slow movement is a smooth, Mendelssohnian fantasy land. Other attractions are the detailed reflections by Honeck himself in the booklet and the live Super Audio sound from Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall, a model for this kind of release. Highly recommended.
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Performance CreditsManfred Honeck Primary Artist
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