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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 - Barber: Adagio for Strings / Honeck, Pittsburgh Symphony

Release Date: 08/18/2017 
Label:  Reference Recordings   Catalog #: 724  
Composer:  Dmitri ShostakovichSamuel Barber
Conductor:  Manfred Honeck
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

2018 Grammy Award Winner: Best Orchestral Performance; Best Engineered Album - Classical Division

Also available on Reference Recordings from Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Strauss: Elektra & Der Rosenkavalier; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 - Dvorak: Rusalka Fantasy; Beethoven: Symphonies 5 & 7; Bruckner: Symphony No. 4; Dvorak: Symphony No 8 - Janacek: Jenufa Suite; Strauss: Don Juan,
Read more Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel.

In his fascinating and scholarly music 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 Joseph Stalin's Soviet government was offended by Shostakovich's previous works. Under threat of arrest or banishment to Siberia, Shostakovich devised a new, less-complex compositional style for the 5th Symphony, still full of irony and double meaning, to appease Stalin and appeal to the common people. The Adagio of Samuel Barber is his most performed work, and one of the most popular of all 20th Century orchestral works. It is beloved for its beautiful simplicity and emotion. Manfred Honeck describes Barber's 1967 a capella version for mixed choir using the ''Agnus Dei'' text, and tells us his own interpretaiton is inspired by this text. He says it is ''for me, without a doubt, the key to finding a deeper sense of this piece. Perhaps it is for this reason that the Adagio has enchanted and moved audiences around the world since its very first incarnation and has continued to do so in all subsequent versions born since.'' This release is the seventh in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series of releases from Reference Recordings.



One might argue that the most recorded of Shostakovich’s symphonies hardly needs another reading, but that’s not taking into account the muscular approach that Manfred Honeck takes here, continuing his unbroken series of impressive recordings for the Reference label. Honeck concentrates more on the sheer elemental power of the piece, and this is music that responds well to that particular orientation. The fill-up, Barber’s Adagio, receives a particularly sensitive reading, although one could wish that Honeck might have chosen something Russian as accompaniment. Customarily exemplary audiophile sound enhances Honeck’s performance.

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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 5 in D minor, Op. 47 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor:  Manfred Honeck
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USSR 
Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 by Samuel Barber
Conductor:  Manfred Honeck
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Rome, Italy 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A 5+ Recording October 17, 2017 By Andrew B. (Bloomsburg, PA) See All My Reviews "The Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra and manfred Honeck have done it again! Two wonderful performances that stand out from other interpretations. This is especially so for the Shostakovich 5th Symphony. It is a performance that is measured; intense; even lyrical at times; and, in the end, ultimately satisfying." Report Abuse
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