Beethoven: String Quartet in F Major & Walton: Sonata for Strings (2005)

Beethoven, Walton

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Candida Thompson

Why Beethoven and Walton? Sir William Walton's Sonata for Strings is a piece that the Amsterdam Sinfonietta has performed with great success both at home and abroad. For this reason we felt that a recording of this work was an obvious choice. It is a powerful composition which gives a string orchestra the opportunity to display all of its discipline, virtuosity, and tone-color. We chose Beethoven's string quartet op. 135 as a companion piece for this recording because of our admiration for the greatness of this final string quartet. The only other recording of this work to date is the Vienna Philharmonic's legendary recording of op. 135 in an arrangement for string orchestra, conducted by Leonard Bernstein. In this earlier recording, the work is performed with a very large group of strings, and Beethoven's composition is realized on a symphonic scale. One important characteristic of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta is that the orchestra is conceived in terms of a string quintet, i.e. a small- scale setting. The orchestra has deliberately remained small in size for the exact purpose of preserving the intimate character of works such as those by Walton or Beethoven. In this way we are able to perform with a maximum of flexibility and articulation. During the recording sessions, attention was devoted not only to the dynamic levels in the score but an effort was also made to give different colors to the various motives. The Amsterdam Sinfonietta strives for the greatest possible expression in this way. Our choice for the combination of these two works is due more to the differences in their musical language than to their similarities.....

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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.

Candida Thompson

Candida Thompson artistic director and leader 

Candida Thompson studied with DavidTakeno at the Guildhall School of Music andDrama, where she received her soloist's graduationdiploma with honour. She developedher qualities further at the Banff Centre for theArts in Canada and played with several internationalorchestras such as Moskov ChamberOrchestra, The English String Orchestra,Wiener Symphoniker, the Netherland RadioChamber Orchestra and AmsterdamSinfonietta. Candida Thompson has been aregular guest artist at La Musica chambermusic festival in Florida. She also participatedat chamber music festivals like the KuhmoChamber Music Festival (Finland) and theGubbio Festival (Italy). In the past yearsCandida performed with artists such as BrunoGuiranna, Joseph Silverstein, Isabelle Faust,Janine Jansen. Together with cellist XeniaJankovic and pianist Paolo Giacometti sheformed the Hamlet trio. Candida Thompsonwas appointed Amsterdam Sinfonietta's artisticdirector and lead violin in the summer of2003. Under her leadership AmsterdamSinfonietta has made successful tours ofAustralia, the United States, China, Spain,Italy and Germany and has recorded a numberof highly acclaimed CD recordings.
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Beethoven: String Quartet in F Major & Walton: Sonata for Strings (2005)

Beethoven, Walton

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

    BBC Music Magazine

Im impressed (...) (...) The Walton piece is a complete success, making the piece sound as if it had originallybeen conceived for string orchestra.

    Classics Today

The rhythmic precision of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta is simply astounding (...)


The Amsterdam Sinfonietta tear into the beginning of Walton's Sonata for strings with unstoppable vigour, and that pulse of excitement beats throughout a terrific performance. But ferocity is tempered by great delicacy and sweetness ...Beethoven's final string makes a perfect companion piece. cd of the month

    Audiophile Audition

The Walton possesses an eerie beauty and wispy melancholy. (...) (...) The surround sound medium is a perfect vehicle for the antiphonal and fugato strings in the opening movement. The Presto is a fierce, bravura study in motion and timbre, including col legno effects. The modal Lento is the heart of the piece, and it has a heart-throb impulse reminiscent of Tchaikovskys Andante cantabile. The Allegro molto throws a series of metric configurations at us, settling on a light, tremolando motif that bristles more or less savagely as it proceeds. A folkish viola melody over plucked strings brings a decidedly bucolic air palliative to the fitful fevers. (...)

    Klassieke Zaken

Beethovens laatste kwartet klink verrassend overtuigend. (...) (...) Bij Walton worden de contrasten prachtig uitgespeeld in een interpretatie die uitblinkt in oprechte musiceer vreugde.

    Hifi Video Test

Virtuositeit en spelvreugde: Fenomenaal!! (...)


Beethovens letztem Streichquartett bekommt die grere Brennweite berauschend gut: Der serenadenhaft-gelste Grundton kommt im fabelhaft homogenen, opulent eingefangenen Sound der Amsterdamer sogar noch schlackenloser, tierischer zur Geltung als im Original. Selbst der zwangsläufige Verlust an inniger Sanglichkeit und Schlichtheit im Lento Assai wird durch eine berhhung ins Feierlich-Erhabene einleuchtend kompensiert. (...)

    Het Parool

Beethoven's laatste strijkkwartet: het allermooiste dat ik ooit heb gehoord. ... wat op de deze plaat gebeurt, tart elke beschrijving. Wat spelen de dames en heren van dit strijkorkest onwaarschijnlijk poetisch en met een klank van het zachtste satijn.

Beethoven: String Quartet in F Major & Walton: Sonata for Strings (2005)

Beethoven, Walton

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Cables: van den Hul T3 series
Digital Converters: Meitner A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom design
Producer: Sven Arne Tepl
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Leiden Holland 2005
Recording Software: Pyramix bij Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64
Speakers: Audiolab, Holland

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23005: Beethoven: String Quartet in F Major & Walton: Sonata for Strings
00:53:49   Select quality & channels above
String Quartet Opus 135 In F-Major - Allegretto
00:06:48   N/A
String Quartet Opus 135 In F-Major - Vivace
00:03:24   N/A
String Quartet Opus 135 In F-Major - Lento Assai, Cantabile e Tranquillo
00:09:21   N/A
String Quartet Opus 135 In F-Major - Grave, Ma Non Troppo Tratto - Allegro
00:07:54   N/A
Sonata For Strings - Allegro
00:08:33   N/A
Sonata For Strings - Presto
00:04:08   N/A
Sonata For Strings - Lento
00:09:02   N/A
Sonata For Strings - Allegro Molto
00:04:39   N/A

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