Tides of Life (2017)

Wolf, Schubert, Brahms, Barber

Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Thomas Hampson

In February 2014 Amsterdam Sinfonietta and Thomas Hampson made a tour of twelve European concert halls performing a unique programme. The heart of the programme consisted of new arrangements of songs by Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert and Hugo Wolf. Amsterdam Sinfonietta commissioned the English composer David Matthews to arrange this song repertoire for string ensemble and baritone. These intimate compositions were performed in this new version for the first time in large-scale concert halls.

The practice of orchestrating older, preexisting songs became the vogue in the nineteenth century, coinciding with the blossoming of a whole new genre; the orchestral song. Composers such as Mahler, Wolf, Berlioz, Liszt and Strauss wrote songs for piano and voice, which they later ‘emancipated’ by arranging them for voice and orchestra. A number of composers, including Brahms, Berlioz and later Weber and Reger, paid homage to their predecessors such as Schubert and Schumann by orchestrating their songs. On this recording only the version of Samuel Barber’s song Dover Beach remains close to the original. Composed for string quartet and baritone, the song is heard here in an arrangement for baritone and string orchestra

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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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Tides of Life (2017)

Wolf, Schubert, Brahms, Barber

Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Thomas Hampson


Thomas Hampson zingt en Amsterdam Sinfonietta volgt hem – soms bijna als een tweede zanger – op de voet: dramatisch, lyrisch, breekbaar. Je hoort dat bariton en strijkorkest elkaar inspireren en meeslepen.


(...) The introverted moments of which there are many succeed best and the culminating point 'Dover Beach' (...) is thus the natural soul of the production. However, another highlight is Wolf's 'Italian Serenade' which shows the string orchestra in its best form. (...)

Dr. Jürgen Schaarwächter

    Klassieke Zaken 'Aanbevolen'

Het unieke programma wordt sublime uitgevoerd door Hampson en Sinfonietta, aangevoerd door concertmeester Candida Thompson.


Die verantwortliche Einbindung der Musiker führt zu einem sehr engagierten, feinsinnigen Spiel. Thomas Hampson singt charaktervoll mit viel Ausdruckskraft oder auch stimmungsvoll lyrisch. Auch stimmlich kann er seine Ansichten mühelos mit prächtigem Timbre und perfekter Textverständlichkeit begeistern.

    Amadeus -

Thomas Hampson (…) offre il suo talent interpretative con generosità; il timbre affascinante della sua voce si integra molto bene con il tessuto degli archi e la ricchezza della intenzioni e delle cure espressive riesce moltiplicata nel contest cameristico.

    De Gelderlander

Solist en ensemble onderstrepen onder leiding van Candida Thompson de hoge mate van muzikale eensgezindheid die ze sinds de start van hun samen werking, precies twintig jaar geleden, gecultiveerd hebben. een optimaal contrast tussen drama en lyriek Hopelijk komt er nog een Tides of Life deel 2.

Maarten-Jan Dongelmans

    BBC Music Magazine -

(…) the perfect foil for Hampson’s velvety sound. 4/5 performance 4/5 sound

Natasha Loges


(…) it makes for an enjoyable and often beguiling disc (…) The playing of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta is brilliantly alive and responsive throughout, and their witty, rapier-sharp performance of Wolf’s Italian Serenade is guaranteed to raise a smile. Channel Classics’ engineering is immaculate.

Hugo Shirley

    The Guardian -

It’s not only the singing of baritone Thomas Hampson, on top form, that makes this recital so enjoyable; it’s the affectionate new string arrangements, joyously played by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta – as leader Candida Thompson describes it, “a big string quartet” of two dozen players. All but one of the arrangements are by David Matthews, who adds texture and illumination to already radiant songs, refreshing these lilies without gilding them. Intertwining solo violins make the opening of Wolf’s song Anakreons Grab magical; squeaking strings conjure up the rodents in his Der Rattenfänger. Another highlight is Bob Zimmerman’s gossamer version of Schubert’s Ständchen (“Zögernd leise”), the echoes sung by a girls’ choir. Brahms’s Four Serious Songs find Matthews drawing on darker sonorities. Hampson, full of authority, ends on Barber’s masterly Dover Beach, which seems only to benefit from its quartet parts being lent the weight and security of a full string orchestra.

    Opus Klassiek

Thomas Hampson lijkt een vanzelfsprekendheid: hij is inmiddels 61 en behoort nog steeds tot de beste liedzangers van dit moment. Zelfs als het er echt op aankomt (zoals in Wolfs ‘Rattenfänger') zingt hij met zijn enorme ervaring in dit repertoire met gemak over de slijtplekken heen. Het Nationaal Vrouwen Jeugdkoor levert onder leiding van Wilma ten Wolde een kostelijke bijdrage aan Schuberts ‘Ständchen', magisch bewerkt door Bob Zimmerman. (...) De opname is in de Jared Sacks-klasse. Wat dit betreft genoeg gezegd!

    Dagblad van het Noorden -

(...) eensgezind musiceren op hoog niveau (...)

Tides of Life (2017)

Wolf, Schubert, Brahms, Barber

Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Thomas Hampson

Cables: van de Hul
Digital Converters: GRIMM A/D
Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer:

The recording was originally digitized using the Grimm AD1, which operates at DSD64. The original session tracks were edited and rebalanced (which meant going through the mixer)  in the only available format for that purpose; the Pyramix 352.8KHz/24bit PCM (DXD). Prior to the advent of direct digital delivery, the next step in the production process from 352.8KHz/24bit PCM would be the DSD64 edited master for SACD production. What we have done now is also make a direct conversion to DSD128 and DSD256 from that original DXD edited master, without going through any interim processing steps. 

Those DXD to DSD conversions are not up-samplings, as they would be going from one PCM sampling rate to another, for they are different encoding systems. PCM is a digital value sample based system, and DSD is a digital bit density modulated system. Conversion from any PCM sample rate to any DSD bit rate system is a remodulation, not an up-sampling.

We feel there is an audio advantage to this process in using the original files so we give you the choice and you can decide.

Jared Sacks

Mastering Room: GRIMM LS1
Microphones: Bruel & Kyaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Willem Bordes
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Vredenburg, Utrecht The Netherlands
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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38917: Tides of Life
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Wolf - Auf einer Wanderung
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Wolf - Fussreise
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Schubert - An die Leier
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Schubert - Memnon
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Wolf - anakreons Grab
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Wolf - Der Rattenfanger
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Schubert - Geheimes
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Schubert - Standchen
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Wolf - Italian Serenade
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Brahms - Vier ernste Gesange - Denn es gehet dem Menschen
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Brahms - Vier ernste Gesange - Ich wandte mich und sahe an alle
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Brahms - Vier ernste Gesange - O Tod, wie bitteer biest du
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Brahms - Vier ernste Gesange - Wenn ich miet Mensehn
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Barber - Dover Beach, op 3
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