Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 - R. Strauss: Horn Concerto No.1 / Honeck, Pittsburgh Symphony
In this Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh recording, it’s evident that Manfred Honeck entirely acknowledges that this progressive score is music of extensive concentration, intensity and, as the designation might suggest, heroic power. Bold and focused, naturally flowing and stimulating with an undertow of mystery in the Allegro, this performance from the Pittsburgh players seems to convey Beethoven’s sense of defiance in the face of adversity. Underpinned by the rich low strings, the angst-ridden and world-weary tread given to the renowned Marche funèbre is both resolute and entirely respectful. Impressive is Honeck’s stark underlining of the recurrent divergence of dark and light. With power and exuberance, a character of unbridled joy imbues the Scherzo, with some arresting playing from the horns. With striking immediacy in the Finale, it feels as if the spirit of life has broken free with Honeck providing swirling and dramatic power. This results in an impact that is both compelling and uplifting.
In the opening Allegro of Richard's Horn Concerto No. 1, the assured playing of Caballero seems to underline the substantial heroic character of the writing. In the enchanting Andante, written in the manner of a Romanza, the soloist’s expressive capabilities shine through, together with the most beautiful tone in the impressively long held notes and phrases. Noticeable in the Finale: Allegro a Scherzo, which requires considerable virtuosity, is Caballero’s rock-solid technique and unerring musicianship. Honeck’s gratifying orchestral accompaniment is hard to fault. William Caballero is in sterling form, giving an extremely enjoyable and stylish performance. It would be remiss not to mention how outstandingly the sound engineers have captured the rich tone of the horn. This outstanding new Caballero recording is one I will revisit again and again.
– MusicWeb International
Catalog Number: FR-728SACD
Label: Reference Recordings
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Strauss
Conductor: Manfred Honeck
Orchestra/Ensemble: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Performer: William Caballero