In Sunday’s (6/21) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Andrew Druckenbrod writes that Manfred Honeck’s inaugural season as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra “went about as well as one could imagine. With electric and daring performances of Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8, Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana,’ waltzes by the Strauss family and others, Heinz Hall buzzed with excitement of a level that hasn’t existed since Mariss Jansons led the orchestra. … Honeck is still perfecting his stylistic recipe—‘It is a continuous process,’ he says. But having one voice at the top has already helped to hone the entire orchestra to the high level it has been used to. … Honeck has challenged nearly every aspect of the PSO’s string playing, from investigating multiple types of vibrato to striving for lively bell tone to placing the two violin sections opposite each other on stage for older repertoire (what he calls ‘old German seating’). The result has been scintillating. The strings now play with complete cohesiveness back-to-front and with much more presence and precision.”

Photo courtesy of Stuttgart Opera

Posted June 22, 2009