Contrasts rule as Honeck leads dynamic show
Music is built on contrasts but rarely has a concert program been so contrasted as the one offered at Heinz Hall Friday night.
It featured unaccompanied singers performing religious music in the first half. Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony took to the stage only in the second half, and to play the often massive sonorities of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 4.
The musical connection between the two halves of the concert went beyond the inclusion of two motets by Bruckner in the program performed by the Tallis Scholars, which was making its Heinz Hall debut.
Honeck introduced the Tallis Scholars, mentioning the concert is part of the symphony's “Music for the Spirit” series and that the devotion and purity of the music they would perform is a perfect preparation for appreciating Anton Bruckner's music after intermission.
The English chamber choir, which is on its 40th anniversary tour, is no stranger to Pittsburgh, having been presented several times by the Renaissance and Baroque Society.
The Tallis Scholars began with three pieces by Tomas Luis de Victoria, singing with the purity and deft emphasis for which they are famous.
The order of the two Bruckner motets was switched from the printed program, starting with “Locust est” and continuing with “Ave Maria.” It was wonderful to hear Bruckner's harmony so clearly and with such purpose.
Tallis Scholars founder and conductor Peter Philips concluded with a deeply affecting performance of Greggorio Allegri's “Miserere” in which the choir was divided with half the singers on stage and others (including a soaring soprano) answering from the balcony.
Weekend performances of Bruckner's Fourth are being recorded in concert for commercial release.
Friday night's performance carried Honeck's interpretive ideas even further than what he had done with this piece at Heinz Hall five years ago. He precisely characterized the spirit of the music as it unfolds with a perception few conductors achieve, using considerable tempo flexibility.
The performance also benefitted from a full week of rehearsals, and had far more refinement in sonority and dynamics than many Friday night performances. The strings had exceptional depth and warmth, while the brass was remarkably well balanced.
This concert will be repeated at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Hall, Downtown. Admission is $25.75 to $109.75. Details: 412-392-4900 or www.pittburghsymphony.org.
Mark Kanny is classical music critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Big names highlight Three Rivers Arts Festival’s 2015 musical lineup
- When does anticipated Record Store Day drop in Pittsburgh? This weekend
- Granati Brothers’ new album almost didn’t go anywhere
- Chamber Music Pittsburgh announces season
- Kanny: Honecks work classical magic
- Honeck brothers team up on Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra stage
- Highmark Stadium will host concerts this summer
- A&E notebooks: Pianist and composer will play at Wholey’s
- Performing for presidents or Pittsburghers, Franklin’s soul keeps shining