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Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, Op. 55 "Eroica" - Strauss: Horn C

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, Op. 55 "Eroica" - Strauss: Horn C

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Reference Recordings proudly presents these two iconic works in definitive interpretations from Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in superb audiophile sound. This release was recorded in beautiful and historic Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In his fascinating and scholarly notes, Maestro Honeck gives us great insight into the history of both pieces, and describes how he conducts and interprets each. He reminds us that the “Eroica” was a bold departure from earlier symphonies, a “dance symphony with dramatic inventiveness, full of new elements that had never been heard before.” He quotes Beethoven’s student Ferdinand Ries, who wrote “Beethoven played recently for me (the Eroica) and I believe both heaven and earth must tremble when it is performed.” Honeck puts his own inimitable stamp on this interpretation, giving the listener a chance to experience the novelties of the “Eroica” as if hearing it for the very first time. This release is the eighth in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series from Reference Recordings. The previous release Shostakovich 5/Barber Adagio won the Grammy in February 2018 for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album.


In this Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh recording, it’s evident that Manfred Honeck entirely acknowledges that this progressive score is music of extensive concentration, intensity and, as the designation might suggest, heroic power. Bold and focused, naturally flowing and stimulating with an undertow of mystery in the Allegro, this performance from the Pittsburgh players seems to convey Beethoven’s sense of defiance in the face of adversity. Underpinned by the rich low strings, the angst-ridden and world-weary tread given to the renowned Marche funèbre is both resolute and entirely respectful. Impressive is Honeck’s stark underlining of the recurrent divergence of dark and light. With power and exuberance, a character of unbridled joy imbues the Scherzo, with some arresting playing from the horns. With striking immediacy in the Finale, it feels as if the spirit of life has broken free with Honeck providing swirling and dramatic power. This results in an impact that is both compelling and uplifting.

In the opening Allegro of Richard's Horn Concerto No. 1, the assured playing of Caballero seems to underline the substantial heroic character of the writing. In the enchanting Andante, written in the manner of a Romanza, the soloist’s expressive capabilities shine through, together with the most beautiful tone in the impressively long held notes and phrases. Noticeable in the Finale: Allegro a Scherzo, which requires considerable virtuosity, is Caballero’s rock-solid technique and unerring musicianship. Honeck’s gratifying orchestral accompaniment is hard to fault. William Caballero is in sterling form, giving an extremely enjoyable and stylish performance. It would be remiss not to mention how outstandingly the sound engineers have captured the rich tone of the horn. This outstanding new Caballero recording is one I will revisit again and again.

– MusicWeb International
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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Reference Recordings CD
    • UPC/Barcode: 030911272821
    • Item Number: FR-728SACD