- Symphony No. 3 in D minor
Gustav Mahler and the SACD format were made for each other. When hearing Manfred Honeck's spectacular recording of the "Symphony No. 3 in D minor" with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, one might take this notion as axiomatic because the music presents Exton's multichannel super audio technology at its absolute best -- indeed, challenges it to perform to its full potential -- while the hybrid SACD now seems like the only way to hear and appreciate the many dimensions of Mahler's symphonies. Of course, the performance has to be worthy of the superb reproduction, and in this regard the musicians have risen to the occasion with splendid artistry and extraordinary results. The orchestra, along with mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, offstage posthorn player George Vosburgh, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, and the Children's Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh have made this a "Third" worth owning, no matter how many other recordings of this symphony one may possess. Yes, there is the not insignificant consideration that every note counts and this performance delivers them all, and hardly any recording one can name sounds better than this one. But the feeling of the music counts as much as accounting for notes, and this performance puts the whole experience together, from the high drama of the immense first movement to the powerfully moving finale. Honeck shows himself to be a Mahlerian of the first order with this outing, and he has far surpassed his performance of the "Symphony No. 1," also on Exton, which didn't promise anything of this recording's excellence. Highly recommended.