Steven Stucky’s 2011 composition Silent Spring takes the listener on an intense musical journey through four movements: The Sea Around Us, The Lost Wood, Rivers of Death, and Silent Spring. Stucky’s brief work, inspired by Rachel Carson’s writings, evokes in intensely emotional, restlessly somber, and seemingly chaotic music the desolation wrought by mankind on the whole of nature. The polluted ocean, the decimated forests, the poisoned rivers, and ultimately the failed healing expected to be brought to the earth by Spring, are vividly depicted in purely musical terms by the late and much missed American composer.
The Reference Recording features the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra led by Manfred Honeck in a superb reading of Stucky’s Silent Spring and an equally fine performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 Pastoral.
Difficult as it might be to provide, after the multitude of recordings of the Pastorale a fresh take on Beethoven’s joyful symphonic paean to Nature, Honeck and his Pittsburgh musicians do just that by virtue of a straightforward approach, brisk tempi, and an elegant observance of the symphony’s bucolic orchestration.
The Pittsburgh maestro provides insightful notes on the Beethoven that accompany the equally informative notes on the Stucky work by the composer himself. The engineering is superb as is the production of this not to be overlooked CD.
Rafael de Acha © 2022
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