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Amsterdam Sinfonietta


SKU: 32213

Year of release: 2013

Les Illuminations opus 18 (1939) for soprano and string orchestra 23:03
1. I. Fanfare Britten 02:08
2. II. Villes Britten 02:28
3. IIIa. Phrase Britten 01:25
4. IIIb. Antique Britten 02:15
5. IV. Royauté Britten 01:42
6. V. Marine Britten 01:02
7. VI. Interlude Britten 02:36
8. VII. Being Beauteous Britten 04:18
9. VIII. Parade Britten 02:43
10. IX. Départ Britten 02:21
Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge opus 10 (1937) for string orchestra 26:25
11. I. Introduction and Them Britten 01:46
12. II. Adagio Britten 02:33
13. III. March Britten 01:04
14. IV. Romance Britten 01:28
15. V. Aria Italiana Britten 01:18
16. VI. Bourrée Classique Britten 01:20
17. VII. Wiener Walzer Britten 02:56
18. VIII. Moto Perpetuo Britten 01:04
19. IX. Funeral March Britten 03:47
20. X. Chant Britten 01:37
21. XI. Fugue and Finale Britten 07:27
Serenade opus 31 (1943) for tenor, horn and string orchestra 25:20
22. I. Prologue Britten 01:19
23. II. Pastoral Britten 03:47
24. III. Nocturne Britten 03:51
25. IV. Elegy Britten 04:36
26. V. Dirge Britten 03:44
27. VI. Hymn Britten 02:10
28. VII. Sonnet Britten 04:28
29. VIII. Epilogue Britten 01:21
30. Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal (1943) for tenor, horn and string orchestra Britten 04:22
Total time: 79:11

About this album

In 2013 it is exactly one hundred years ago that the English genius Benjamin Britten was born. Britten’s brilliant manner of writing for string orchestra, his unique treatment of text,and his rich repertory of musical colours a reall abundantly clear from the masterpieces featured on this recording.

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Positive Feedback

Gilchrist's rendering of the final Keats is breathtaking…


De zoetgevooisde stem van Barbara Hannigan beweegt moeiteloos over het strijkorkest. (...) Amsterdam Sinfonietta speelt feilloos. Deze vier werken illustreren uitstekend wat voor smaakvolle, speelse en sensuele muziek Britten heeft geschreven.

Es ist eben die maximal motivierte Mitteilsamkeit dieser famosen Streichertruppe, die Benjamin Britten sich für seine Musik erträumt haben muss. Das Irisierende und Imaginative, das farbig fein Changierende, ja die schillernde „Ambience“ seiner hier immer wieder an den Impressionismus gemahnenden Werke – all das bringt die Amsterdam Sinfonietta mit edler Ekstase zum Klingen. (…) Das ist berückende, subtil süchtig machende Musik in sublimer Interpretation.

CBC Canada

The soloist here is the transcendent Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan, who now lives in Amsterdam and has become the toast of the European new music scene. A regular with the Berlin Philharmonic with a growing reputation as a gifted conductor, Hannigan brings meticulous musicianship and complete command of the text to this performance. It's simply stunning, and a great way to get to know Benjamin Britten, up close and personal. Disc of the Week

Film Festival Traveler

Soprano Barbara Hannigan sounds exquisite in the lovelyIlluminations, tenor James Gilchrist and horn player Jasper de Waal wax lyrical throughout Serenade, and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta under Candida Thompson’s leadership give the Bridge Variations a great workout. The spacious surround sound underlines Britten’s orchestral writing genius. (...)

International Record Review

the sonics are reliable sensational (...) there is an enormous amount of light, shade and real exhilaration in this finely honed contribution to Britten’s centenary celebrations.

Opus Klassiek

Dat het Amsterdam Sinfonietta zich in dit repertoire als een vis in het water voelt zal geen verbazing wekken, getuige de kwaliteit van de vele opnamen die het ensemble inmiddels op zijn conto heeft staan (...) Smaakvolle en vakkundige bewerkingen van de aan Amsterdam Sinfonietta verbonden bassist Marijn van Prooijen die in de uitvoeringspraktijk staan als een huis. (...) Jasper de Waal is een hoornist uit duizenden. (...)

De Gelderlander

Amsterdam Sinfonietta gaat tot het uiterste in muzikale precisie en expressie. (...) De superieure audio-opname laat de geproduceerde boventonen glashelder horen.

Presto Classical

Besides the excellent soprano Barbara Hannigan, who sparkles in ‘Les Illuminations’, tenor James Gilchrist and hornist Jasper de Waal deliver an impressive contribution to this production with Amsterdam Sinfonietta. (…) The orchestra herself indulges in all imaginable techniques, colours and dynamic extremes that Britten releases from his box of tricks for string orchestra.

Crescendo Magazine

Diese CD ist das reinste Vergnügen. (...) Candida Thompson versteht es, mit ihrem Kammerorchester die raffiniert abgemischten Klangfarben Brittens zu erwecken, Struktur und Ausdruck ins rechte Maß zu setzen und Britten als unverzichtbaren Klassiker der Moderne zu feiern.

Sunday Times

Gilchrist's Serenade, with Jasper de Waal the stupendous horn soloist, is one of the best things the English tenor has done on disc - Pears-like in its intensity and crystalline diction. The Sinfonietta's strings have a whale of a time as a band of wannabe Paganinis in the Aria Italiana of the Bridge Variations.

Barbara Hannigan, has been garnering great critical and public acclamation for her world-wide performances of ‘Les Illuminations’. She certainly comes to high expectations in this programme too. (…) With Candida Thompson’s lead, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta take to Britten’s virtuosic string orchestral accompaniments as if born to the music (...) An account of breathtaking acumen and skill from all participants. (...) Together Gilchrist and de Waal conjure up a marvellous, deeply contemplative and moving Serenade, certainly one to remember and treasure. (...) Channel Classics have got Britten’s Birth Centenary off to a racing start with this marvellous issue.

The Wholenote

(...) Soprano Barbara Hannigan is in fine fettle here, singing very beautifully in excellent French while the virtuoso string orchestra blooms luxuriantly in the warm acoustics of Haarlem’s Philharmonie Hall. (...) a virtue for SACD fanatics.

Het Parool

Amsterdam Sinfonietta, aangevoerd door violiste Candida Thompson, speelt het allemaal op het hoogste niveau. (...) Sopraan Barbara Hannigan zingt bij vlagen bloedstollende hoge lijnen (...) Jasper de Waal speelt de hoornpartij ronduit magistraal (...) tenor Gilchrist weet de poëzie in het hart te raken. (...)

Audiophile Audition

The fine SACD sound on this disc adds a sensuality and tangibility that allows the listener to get inside the music, as if he/she were present when it was recorded. (...) There’s a palpability to the silences that magnifies the music’s emotional presence. This is thoughtful and and lovely music, ravishingly performed and recorded. Don’t miss it!

Gapplegate Classical

These are energetic, expressive versions. The soloists are very good and the precise, matter-of-factness of Britten's original recordings contrasts with the exuberance of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta under Thompson. (…) The versions can stand side-by-side with the very best and hold their own, in their own way. Recommended.

Technical Specifications

Recording Type Bit RateDSD64
SpeakersAudiolab, Holland
Recording SoftwarePyramix bij Merging
Recording LocationLeiden, Haarlem Holland 2013
Recording EngineerJared Sacks
ProducerWillem Bordes
Mixing BoardRens Heijnis custom design
MicrophonesBruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mastering EquipmentB&W 803 diamond series
Mastering EngineerJared Sacks
Digital ConvertersGrimm A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Cablesvan den Hul