ShareThis Page
PSO musicians enjoy Vienna during time off |

PSO musicians enjoy Vienna during time off

Mark Kanny
Pittsburgh Symphony violist Penny Brill and cellist Adam Liu perform at St. Anna Children’s Hospital in Vienna, Austria. Credit: Pittsburgh Symphony

After a tiring week of concerts in Vienna, some of which were broadcast on Austrian radio and also recorded for commercial release, Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony had Sunday off to recharge their batteries. They began the final leg of their European tour with a concert Monday night in Paris.

Performances Thursday featuring Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem” and Friday and Saturday of Gustav Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony received enthusiastic and prolonged applause from the audiences at Vienna’s famed Musikverein.

Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley led the orchestra off stage after 15 minutes of applause following Mozart’s “Requiem.” “They wouldn’t stop clapping,” he said.

There also were lengthy ovations and multiple curtain calls after the Mahler performances.

There was even one woman who waved a Steelers Terrible Towel after a concert, Honeck said.

It was a particularly busy week for the conductor, who, in addition to leading four concerts, rehearsed the Vienna Singverein in the choral parts of the Mozart and Mahler.

He said the musicians were on the edge of their seats for the performances.

“The orchestra had a wonderful sound on the Friday concert, completely adapting to the hall. I think all the soloists were wonderful. Cindy (deAlmeida’s oboe) solo in ‘Urlicht’ was amazing. We know (principal trumpet) George Vosburgh has the ability to play all the dynamics. This was one of those concerts where he showed a lot of rounded colors in the chorales.”

Both Friday’s and Saturday’s performances of the Mahler symphony were recorded for release in Honeck’s cycle of Mahler symphonies with the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Mahler reserves the chorus for the end of his symphony, when it makes the music’s meaning explicit and contributes to powerful sonorities.

The Vienna Singverein was great, according to Bendix-Balgley.

The Pittsburgh Symphony’s concertmaster used to visit Vienna when he lived in Germany, and rented an apartment near the Musikverein during the orchestra’s residency at the hall.

“It was great to be back in this city,” he said. “It really is wonderful. We were obviously working quite hard, but we had time to explore the city and go to the cafes and eat well, too.”

Bendix-Balgley also took the opportunity to attend concerts on his days off. He heard Cecilia Bartoli singing baroque music, and Vienna Philharmonic concertmaster Rainer Honeck (the conductor’s brother) solo in Igor Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto.

Thursday night, Honeck hosted a party for the musicians in the park adjacent to the hotel in which they were staying, a park where Johann Strauss Jr. used to give concerts.

Mark Kanny is classical music critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.