Tchaikovsky - Symphony no.5; Schulhoff - 5 Pieces | Reference Recordings FR752SACD

Tchaikovsky - Symphony no.5; Schulhoff - 5 Pieces


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Label: Reference Recordings

Cat No: FR752SACD

Barcode: 0030911275228

Format: Hybrid SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 4th August 2023

Gramophone Editor's Choice



Reference Recordings proudly presents Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no.5, in a significant new interpretation from conductor Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It is coupled with Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet, newly arranged for large orchestra by Manfred Honeck and Tomáš Ille. The popular Austro-Czech composer Schulhoff’s (1894–1942) career ended in a concentration camp during the Nazis’ rise in Germany, but not before composing a number of pieces inspired by jazz and dance influences. His 1924 Five Pieces for String Quartet is the most performed. This album was recorded live in 2022 in beautiful and historic Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in superb audiophile sound.

Maestro Honeck honours us again with his meticulous music notes, in which he gives us great insight into his interpretation as well as the history and musical structure of Tchaikovsky’s great Symphony no.5. He gives special emphasis to the recurring “fate” themes so prominent in this symphony and in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no.4.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence for more than 125 years, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and is deeply committed to Pittsburgh and its region. Since 2008, the Pittsburgh Symphony has been led by its worldwide acclaimed Music Director Manfred Honeck. Past music directors have included many of the greats, including Fritz Reiner, William Steinberg, André Previn, Lorin Maazel and Mariss Jansons. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has always been at the forefront of championing new works, including recent commissions by Mason Bates, Jonathan Leshnoff, James MacMillan and Julia Wolfe. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and live radio broadcasts dating back to the 1930s. It has toured frequently both domestically and overseas since 1900 – including more than 40 international tours. The Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras.

This release is the fourteenth 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, 2020 and 2022. 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 orchestral, solo, opera and chamber recordings have received more than 130 Grammy nominations and awards.

Reference Recordings, founded in 1976 in San Francisco, has won multiple Grammy awards and a catalogue that includes numerous American and international orchestras, ensembles and choruses. FRESH! is part of Reference Recordings’ mission to encourage unique and fine artists, and give them a strong platform for promotion and sales nationally and internationally.


From the outset, Honeck’s infinitely varied texturing creates a huge amount of suspense and uncertainty in the gloomy lower string harmonies that underpin the clarinet’s first statement of the fate motif. ... The roaring timpani roll that unleashes the Finale’s Allegro vivace section is simply electrifying and what follows, with the raucous, almost Stravinskian dialogue between wind and string imitating the sound of balalaikas, is even more arresting.  Erik Levi (Recording of the Month)
BBC Music Magazine October 2023
Their earlier Fifth is excellent but this one is an absolute belter, rightly earning the Recording of the Month accolade. ... This is one of the best new Tchaikovsky Fifths I’ve heard for ages. ... The unusual filler this time is Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet orchestrated by Tomáš Ille and Honeck and performed in the same concert as the Tchaikovsky. They’re dancelike with a witty Shostakovich flavour, quirky, occasionally grotesque.   Mark Pullinger (Recording of the Month)
Gramophone September 2023

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