Dvořák: Symphony No 8 in G major, Op 88; Janáček: Jenůfa (Symphonic Suite)

Reviewed on Wed 29 Oct, 2014

Further proof that Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony are one of the classiest and most sheerly imaginative partnerships around at present. In the Austrian maestro's enormously pliable, dramatic and thrillingly combustible interpretation of Dvořák's adorable Eighth Symphony there honestly isn't a single bar that hasn't been freshly reconsidered. It's the view of a real connoisseur as well as disarming voyage of discovery, overflowing with sparky temperament, affectionate ardour and ear-pricking subtlety, the orchestral playing at all times fabulously articulate and displaying genuine edge-of-seat commitment – the giddy thrust and excitement generated in the symphony's exuberant pay-off has to be heard to be believed. Some may conceivably find it all just a wee bit too masterful and controlled, but for those prepared to listen with open ears, I can guarantee you won't be bored! The Janáček coupling (a red-blooded and highly atmospheric orchestral suite from the opera Jenůfa) is likewise brilliantly executed and brimful of personality. Magnificently truthful sound and balance, too. Do seek out this remarkable SACD for yourselves.
–Andrew Achenbach