The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and it’s Music Director Manfred Honeck announce the release of a new recording (April 2020)

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and it’s Music Director Manfred Honeck announce the release of a new recording, pairing Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 with the world premiere of leading American composer Jonathan Leshnoff’s Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon, featuring the orchestra’s Principal Clarinet Michael Rusinek and Principal Bassoon Nancy Goeres. This hybrid SACD release was recorded in Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, the home of the orchestra.

Digital Downloads and SACDs will be available to the public through all major online music retailers, online and streaming services on the 22 May release date; pre-orders can be placed now.


In this bold yet sensitive interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, Manfred Honeck invites us on a journey that has, “one of the most effective conclusions in all of the symphonic literature.“ According to Honeck’s more detailed notes in the booklet, he and the musicians explore the tension and contrasts between, “darkness and suffering, but also hope and light. At once, it is on the edge of despair—depressed, hopeless, broken, melancholic and gloomy; but there is also an incredible counterpoint—courageous, self-confident, joyful, optimistic, wild and blissful.” Honeck situates the fourth symphony in an historical framework, revealing how the composer’s own life and struggles are reflected in the music—and how this context informs his own interpretation of the work on stage.


In contrast with the last movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Jonathan Leshnoff’s Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon offers lightness and buoyancy, juxtaposing the agility of the clarinet with the richness of the bassoon. In the accompanying music notes, Leshnoff says, “An important question would be how to combine and juxtapose the sprite clarinet with the heavier color of the bassoon and be sure that the bassoon stood out from the texture. …I discovered that there were some magical combinations that the clarinet and bassoon can make with each other. I found that the bassoon can be very plaintive and resonant in its higher register, and that mixing that sound with the timbre of the clarinet yields some remarkable qualities.”


Jonathan Leshnoff’s Double Concerto that is featured on the disc was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for Rusinek and Goeres, with the world premiere taking place in June of 2019. This also marked the first time that the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra had performed a Leshnoff work.


The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, with recent commissions by Mason Bates and Julia Wolfe. The orchestra gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” in 1944 and John Adams’ “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” in 1986.


The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. This release is the tenth in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! Series of multi-channel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! imprint from Reference Recordings. This series has received GRAMMY nominations in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The previous release, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9, received three GRAMMY nominations. Its recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5/Barber Adagio for Strings won the 2018 GRAMMY Awards for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album.


This release and the entire Pittsburgh Live! Series are recorded and mastered by the team at Soundmirror, whose outstanding recordings have received more than 100 GRAMMY nominations and awards. Reference Recordings was founded in 1976 in San Francisco, has won multiple GRAMMY awards and has a catalog that includes numerous American and international orchestras, ensembles and choruses. FRESH! Is part of Reference Recordings’ mission to encourage unique and fine artists, and to give them a strong platform for promotion and sales nationally and internationally.

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