Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 - Stucky: Silent Spring / Honeck, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

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Reference Recordings proudly presents the beloved Symphony No. 6 "Pastoral" of Ludwig van Beethoven, with Steven Stucky’s "Silent Spring," in exceptional performances from Manfred Honeck...

Reference Recordings proudly presents the beloved Symphony No. 6 "Pastoral" of Ludwig van Beethoven, with Steven Stucky’s "Silent Spring," in exceptional performances from Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. "Silent Spring" was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the book "Silent Spring", the seminal work by Pittsburgh native Rachel Carson. The music, like the book, can be heard as a call to action to love and to save nature and the earth. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence for more than 125 years, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and is deeply committed to Pittsburgh and its region. This release is the thirteenth in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series of multi­channel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! imprint from Reference Recordings. This series has received GRAMMY® Nominations in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022.

Please note: this Hybrid SACD will play on any CD player.


This is yet more fine Beethoven from Honeck and his orchestra. The coupling with the Stucky is fitting. Taken with the album’s bracingly clean engineering and insightful liner notes (including the conductor’s in-depth discussion of his approach to Beethoven interpretation), and we’ve got ourselves another winner in this ongoing Pittsburgh/Beethoven series. Warmly recommended.

-- The Arts Fuse

Silent Spring is not a novel, but more a treatise on how mankind’s pursuit of profit, particularly with the use of certain pesticides in intensive farming methods, is slowly destroying the planet. Unsurprisingly condemned and dismissed by the agricultural industry, as well as, more surprisingly, the media at the time, Ms. Carson’s work has proven to be chillingly prophetic with as much relevance to the planet today as it was some sixty years ago when it was first published.

-- Lee Denham (MusicWeb International)

If you’ve followed Manfred Honeck’s Beethoven symphonies with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on Reference Recordings, presumably a complete cycle in the making, the first from an audiophile label (the third, fifth, seventh, and ninth have already appeared), you’ll know what to expect from this “Pastoral”—swift tempi, lean, even sec sonorities (vibrato held in considerable check), great clarity of line and texture, the live recording impressively wide in dynamic range if a tad short on atmosphere and bloom. The arrival in the countryside is brisk and bracing, the brook never dawdles along its merry way, the peasants’ dance is bumptious and high-spirited, the thunderstorm rages with hair-raising ferocity, and the plangent, beautifully phrased “Shepherd’s Song” rises to a strong climax. The late Stephen Stucky’s Silent Spring fills out the program, a powerfully expressive suite of four meditations on Rachel Carson’s environmental classic of the same title. The Pittsburgh Symphony play like gods and angels in both works. If a richer, more relaxed and expansive “Pastoral” is desired, try Bernstein/Vienna (DG) or Walter/Columbia (Sony), while Szell/Cleveland (Sony) ideally mediate classical rigor and early romantic ardor. Still, those who’ve liked Honeck’s previous Beethoven needn’t hesitate.

-- The Absolute Sound

Product Description:

  • Release Date: June 10, 2022

  • UPC: 030911274726

  • Catalog Number: FR-747SACD

  • Label: Reference Recordings

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Classical, Contemporary

  • Composer: Steven Stucky

  • Conductor: Manfred Honeck

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra


  1. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68, "Pastoral"

    Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

    Ensemble: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Manfred Honeck

  2. Silent Spring

    Composer: Steven Stucky

    Ensemble: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Manfred Honeck