DVORÁK: Symphony No. 8 in G, Op. 88 JANÁCEK: Symponic Suite Jenufa.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orch/Manfred Honeck, cond.
REFERENCE RECORDINGS SACD FR 710 TTT: 62:04
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BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 7 in E
Budapest Festival Orc/ Ivan Fischer, cond.F
CHANNEL CLASSICS SACD 33714 TT: 56:45
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BACH: French Suite No. 4 in E flat, BWV 814. French Suite No. 5 in G, BWV 816. Suite No. 6 in E BWV 817. Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543, Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3, KWV 1068.
Mika Väyryunen, accordion
ALBA SACD 361 TT: 55:13
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Manfred Honeck already has had major positions with the Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony, Czech Philharmonic and Stuttgart Opera. He first conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2008 and the following year was appointed music director, a post he will occupy until at least 2020. It is obvious Honeck has incredible rapport with the orchestra, evidenced from these magnificent performances. The Dvorák symphony impresses with its minute attention to detail; it rather reminds me of Willem Mengelberg—and from me, that is the highest praise. We also have the conductor's own version of a suite from Janacek's Jenufa which includes several dances with scoring that includes the xylophone to connect the different sections. Engrossing listening, and played to perfection by the Pittsburgh Symphony. Audio is rich with a very wide dynamic range, satisfying in every way although not particularly "surround." This is an outlining release. Even if you have other recordings of Dvorák's Eighth, you should investigate this new one.

Iván Fischer and his fine Budapest Philharmonic offer a sterling performance of Bruckner's Symphony No. 7. This is a propulsive reading with tempi faster than one might expect. The grandeur of some other recordings is missing, but this is a reading of great intensity. The recording was made March 2012 in Budapest's Palace of Arts, and the engineering team has captured a warm, immediate sound. You won't be disappointed by this issue.

Bach on the accordion? Why not? Finnish Mika Väyryunen (b. 1967) began his concert career in 1985 and since then has developed a reputation for raising standards of an instrument often neglected. He has performed with many European orchestras, given numerous concerts, and commissioned works for the accordion including concertos. On this new disk he brings his artistry and musical instincts to major works of Bach with telling effect. Remarkable performances, very well recorded. Far off the beaten path, and recommended

.R.E.B. (August 2014)

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