Tchaikovsky, Arensky (2019)

Arensky, Tchaikovsky

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

DSD 512 Exclusive

Tchaikovsky's Serenade is one of the most beautiful of all works for string ensemble, and it has been frequently performed by Amsterdam Sinfonietta since its establishment in 1988.

Arensky wrote his Second String Quartet in memory of the composer, with whom he was befriended. His homage overflows with melancholy and dark tone colours. The middle movement, based on a song by Tchaikovsky, was later arranged by Arensky for string orchestra.

Amsterdam Sinfonietta took upon itself to arrange and perform the entire Second Quartet. In Tchaikovsky's footsteps, Arensky made use here of religious chant and motifs from Russian folk music.

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Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Amsterdam Sinfonietta is an ensemble of 22 gifted musicians who perform under the direction of Candida Thompson, artistic director|lead violin since 2003. The ensemble’s defining feature is the strong involvement and artistic drive of each individual member. The group has gained a reputation for distinguished, performances and innovative programming, often featuring surprising combinations of works. It collaborates with renowned artists and performs in major venues around throughout the world.

Founded in 1988 Amsterdam Sinfonietta is a highly respected ensemble with strong roots in the Dutch cultural scene. Every season it presents a series of concerts in the major concert halls of the The Netherlands. The orchestra boasts a young and loyal audience. Amsterdam Sinfonietta performs ingenious programmes featuring well-known repertoire combined with commissions, new arrangements or rarely performed works. Recent commissions include world premières of compositions by Sofia Gubaidulina, HK Gruber, Michel van der Aa and P?teris Vasks. Over the past seasons Amsterdam Sinfonietta has initiated and recorded new arrangements of various chamber music works. These include works by Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Schulhoff, Haas, Shostakovich and Berg.

Amsterdam Sinfonietta enjoys intensive collaborations with pre-eminent musicians. Guest artists such as Janine Jansen, David Fray, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Barbara Hannigan, Maxim Vengerov, Thomas Hampson, Sergey Khachatryan, Christianne Stotijn, Håkan Hardenberger, Martin Fröst, Julian Rachlin, Sol Gabetta, James Gilchrist, Natalia Gutman and Isabelle van Keulen have made return appearances with the orchestra.

Recently the ensemble toured China performing concerts with cellist Pieter Wispelwey. The group also performed spectacular performances with solo cellist Sol Gabetta at the Barbican in London, the Philharmonie in Luxemburg, Bozar in Brussels, the Musikhalle in Hamburg and the Konserthuset in Stockholm. The latest tour through Germany and Belgium with the French pianist David Fray was a resouding success culminating in ecstatic reviews. Following concerts in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf and the Frankfurter Rundschau wrote: ’For the chamber orchestra Amsterdam Sinfonietta, performing under the direction of Candida Thompson, the keyword is alertness. The 22 string players […] communicate with each other in a state of heightened awareness. Each player listens attentively to the others, to the counter lines and tonal colours. […] The result sounded fresh and modern – simply brilliant.’ The group has been a guest at many international festivals including the Adelaide Festival, Gergiev Festival, Schleswig Holstein Festival and La Roque d’Antheron and also appears regularly at the Holland Festival and in the Robeco Summer Series and Carte Blanche Series in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

Every year the ensemble shows its versatility with a New Year’s programme that transcends the bounds of a conventional concert. This New Year’s programme has become a tradition attracting new and diverse audiences in many national venues. Joining forces with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Roby Lakatos, and Chick Corea has resulted in intriguing on-stage chemistry and compelling concerts. The orchestra also participates in multidisciplinary projects. Together with the Dutch-Italian choreographers Emio Greco & PC, the ensemble presented a theatrical production featuring a contemporary collage of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Amsterdam Sinfonietta has also worked with the actor Jeroen Willems and stage director Pierre Audi in a programme centred on Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite. Upcoming projects include a Dessner-Greenwood double portrait featuring recent compositions by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead fame and Bryce and Aaron Dessner from the successful rock band The National. Other future projects include collaborations with the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, baritone Thomas Hampson and clarinettist Martin Fröst and tours of Germany, Russia and China.

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Tchaikovsky, Arensky (2019)

Arensky, Tchaikovsky

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

    Diapason -

(…) le niveau usuel de l’Amsterdam Sinfonietta: un orchestre étagé, des fréquences graves nourries, de l’aération, une circulation sonore et musicale entre les pupitres. (…)

Christophe Huss


(…) the Sinfonietta violins are as sweet and silky as one could wish for (…) The dynamic range of both ensemble and discreetly resonant recording (…) defies one’s best efforts to listen beneath the theme and into the busy textures (…)

Peter Quantrill


L’Amsterdam Sinfonietta et Candida Thompson ont eu l’excellente idée de confier au contrebassiste, compositeur et arrangeur néerlandais?Marijn van Prooijen?la transcription des premier et dernier mouvements, permettant ainsi à l’ensemble du quatuor d’être joué pour la première fois comme « symphonie de chambre » pour orchestre à cordes. (…) Même si l’on peut préférer la partition originale plus intime, l’œuvre résultante est superbe et prenante. (…)

Michel Tibbaut


“Deze nieuwe cd van Amsterdam Sinfonietta laat wederom zien dat zij een strijkorkest is van wereldklasse.”

    Aangenaam Klassiek "aangenaam klassiek"

“Amsterdam Sinfonietta speelt nu het gehele Tweede kwartet [Arensky] en koppelt het aan een droomuitvoering van Tsjaikovski’s beroemde Serenade. ‘Fascinating’, noemde Bachtrack het onder leiding van concertmeester Candida Thompson zo briljant spelende ensemble al eens.”

    BBC Music Magazine -

(…) to hear these gifted Amsterdam players savour Tchaikovsky’s exquisite string writing with such lustrous finesse has its own rewards. (…)

Julian Haylock


(…) the Sinfonietta violins are as sweet and silky as one could wish for (…) collectors who have enjoyed the Sinfonietta’s recent takes on Brahms will enjoy their cleaned-up Tchaikovsky.

    De Gelderlander -

(...) zonnige klanken, veel sprankeling, passie, verdieping en elegantie. (...) Liefhebbers van weelderige strijkersklanken zitten hier eerste rang. (...) Heel sonoor en puur Russisch. Met wervelende slotmaten die je als luisteraar meteen op de repeat doen drukken. Wat een intensiteit. (...)

    Opus Klassiek

(...) Dit is Tsjaikovski voor de eenentwintigste eeuw. (...) Misschien wel de mooiste aanwinst in het rijtje Kamersymfonieën [Arenski], met een eervolle vermelding voor Marijn van Prooijen. (...) Schitterend opgenomen in die heerlijke Stadsgehoorzaal van Leiden, geschapen voor dit repertoire.

Tchaikovsky, Arensky (2019)

Arensky, Tchaikovsky

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Cables: Van den Hul
Digital Converters: Grimm Audio
Editing Software: Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks, Tom Caulfield (DSD 512)
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer 4006, Schoeps

NativeDSD selectively creates higher DSD bitrates of label's releases using two methods (Merging Technologies Album Publishing and Singnalyst HQPlayer Pro), depending on the original edited master source. In order to understand the processes, a bit of background is appropriate.  

NativeDSD sells only recordings that were originally recorded in DSD or DXD (352.8KHz PCM). The overwhelming majority of these recordings were edited and post processed in DXD, then converted (modulated) into DSD deliverable bit rates. NativeDSD acquires the label's original DXD edited master, and using Merging Technologies Album Publishing, creates a first generation DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256, as well as a DXD FLAC deliverable.  Additionally, on selected recordings, a 32bit PCM WAV file is extracted (the DXD PCM FLAC is 24 bits by format definition), and uses it to modulate a DSD512 using HQPlayer Pro.

The exception to the above are the few label recordings (Yarlung, Eudora, Just Listen etc.) that record in DSD, and do no PCM post processing mixing, level balancing, EQ etc. That's doable by restricting post processing to just editing, where only the edit transition interval (typically 100ms or less) is PCM converted, leaving the DSD music content unaltered when rendered. For those recordings, the DSD edited master (the actual recording master with edits) is used with HQPlayer Pro to re-modulate the missing DSD bitrates.

Why do any of this? It's to provide a DSD bitrate deliverable choice, allowing a customer to purchase the highest DSD bitrate their DAC will support.

It's correct that there's no additional music content information contained in the higher DSD bit rate from the original DSD bitrate. What's different is the uncorrelated modulation noise content placement in the frequency spectrum. When a DSD original file is converted to DXD (PCM), the inherent DSD modulation noise is removed through the decimation filtering, and re-inserted when modulated back to DSD. The modulation noise (again, uncorrelated) is the carrier part of the DSD bitstream modulation, and an inherent part of the DSD bit stream.


While the spectorial shape is the same regardless of the DSD bitrate, it's effective start and end points move an octave higher for every doubling of the DSD bitrate. For DSD64, the uncorrelated modulation noise is about -110dB at 20KHz, rising to about -50dB at 100KHz. For DSD512, the modulation noise is about -110dB at 160KHz, and -50dB at 800KHz. What this allows is for the customer's DAC to use gentler, more Gaussian shaped reconstruction filters, with far improved phase response.


Producer: Willem de Bordes
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Leiden, The Netherlands. Tchaikovsky: 19 October 2014 // Arensky: 18 & 19 October 2015
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD 64
Speakers: Grimm LS1

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37119: Tchaikovsky, Arensky
00:56:20   Select quality & channels above
Serenade for Strings - Pezzo in forma di Sonatina
00:09:22   N/A
Serenade for Strings - Valse
00:03:51   N/A
Serenade for Strings - Elegie
00:08:59   N/A
Serenade for Strings - Finale
00:07:22   N/A
Chamber Symphony - Moderato
00:10:33   N/A
Chamber Symphony - Theme, variations
00:11:45   N/A
Chamber Symphony - Finale
00:04:28   N/A

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