This new Hybrid SACD recording features the first recording of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with its new director of music, Manfred Honeck. The main work is Richard Strauss’ massive tone poem “Ein Heldenleben”, but the disc also includes Verdi’s overture to “La Forza del Destino”, as well as the world premier of recent commission by the orchestra, a clarinet concerto by the contemporary American composer Alan Fletcher.
Richard Strauss’ symphonic poem Ein Heldenleben was written in 1898, and dedicated to the 27-year old conductor Willem Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Ein Heldenleben is an episodic work in which the composer recalls his “heroic” struggle through life. The American composer Alan Fletcher, who’s clarinet concerto was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and is here receiving its world premier recording, is president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School, and studied under Roger Sessions and Milton Babbit.
The Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck began his career as conductor of Vienna's Jeunesse Orchestra, which he co-founded, and as assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in Vienna. After several highly successful guest appearances as conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, he was appointed its ninth Music Director in 2008.
“Honeck seems...to have these musicians willing and able to do anything for him: the result is a mix of American virtuosity and fearlessness bonded to a European beauty of sound and sensibility; the violins have a lovely sheen and the cellos an impressive depth of tone...The Verdi is a striking icebreaker and Fletcher's Concerto should win many friends.”
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