“ ‘What is the reason to bring out a Beethoven Five, or Seven, or Three?” the conductor Manfred Honeck asked,” writes David Allen in Tuesday’s (5/8) New York Times. “What could there possibly be left to say? Quite a lot, as it turns out, and Mr. Honeck is saying it with the Pittsburgh Symphony…. When the orchestra and Mr. Honeck, its music director since 2008, arrive in New York to perform Beethoven and Mahler at David Geffen Hall on May 19 … they will arrive having built their reputation by recording the standard repertoire, formidably well. ‘If I do it,’ Mr. Honeck said, ‘I want to do it as good as I can do it.’ Good barely covers it. All eight of the releases that the Pittsburgh forces have brought out on Reference Recordings … come with the highest of recommendations. …. His fastidious preparation [includes writing] his own bowings…. He reads deeply, and dreams up metaphors to sharpen the imagery. It’s a technique that Mr. Honeck … learned … as a violist in the Vienna Philharmonic from 1986 to 1992…. In conversation, he cited Mahler to the effect that ‘tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.’ ”

Posted May 9, 2019

In photo: Manfred Honeck conducts a Pittsburgh Symphony rehearsal. Photo by Jessie Wadarski