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Bartok, Brahms

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Bartók, Brahms

SKU: 37518

Year of release: 2018

Divertimento for String Orchestra 24:17
1. Allegro Bartók 08:34
2. Molto adagio Bartók 08:22
3. Allegro assai Bartók 07:21
String Quintet no. 2 30:16
4. Allegro non troppo ma con brio Brahms 12:58
5. Adagio Brahms 06:30
6. Un poco allegretto Brahms 05:35
7. Vivace ma non troppo presto Brahms 05:11
8. Bonus track Brahms 00:51
Total time: 55:25

About this album

These two musical giants, Brahms and Bartok, are among my personal favourites, bound by their love of folk music, from which they both drew creative inspiration. For this CD recording we have once again coupled together a string orchestral work and an arrangement of a chamber music piece, similar to the concept used for our Brahms – Schoenberg, Mahler –Beethoven CDs.

Bartok’s Divertimento for string orchestra is an exceptionally original work and it has been on our ‘bucket list’ to record for quite a long time, but choosing the moment when something is ‘in one’s blood’, so to speak, is not an easy decision because every ti me we have rehearsed and performed it we have discovered new things – it is such a mellifluously rich work! With pieces like this it is never the same journey twice. I am extremely happy we have finally put it onto a CD.

Brahms’s opus 111 is a string quintet hugely loved by us all. It is not often performed by a full string orchestra and is already overpowering in its original quintet form. I fell in love with this music many years ago and spent two weeks deciphering every corner of it in a masterclass with Isaac Stern. It is a very ambitious piece to record with a large group of string players – all the intricacies of the solo voices have to be found and polished, but in my view it lends itself to becoming – dare I say it – a ‘symphony for strings’ when one approaches it with so many more players. Some of the textures seem even more glorious. However, I leave it to you ‘the listener’ to decide for yourself!

– Candida Thompson

Download booklet


NRC-4 Stars

(…) Een goede keuze om deze twee werken tegenover en naast elkaar te zetten: eenzelfde Europa verklankt in zwierige luister door Brahms, in donkere ontluistering door Bartók, en in de gloeidende noten van Sinfonietta Amsterdam.


Expressive, convincing ... admirably phrased.


With Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Bartok’s Divertimento is the musical translation of the composer’s deeply worrying state of mind at the moment when he wrote the piece. The Brahms Quintet played in a full string orchestra version is not easy going either. Candida Thompson's team sharpens the contrasts between cheerful and dark thoughts, between melancholy and irony. Technically, the playing is first rate.

Luister 10

quote voor Luister van 37518 " beste opname van de laatste tijd (en misschien wel ooit)." Luister 10/10 (de recensie hebben we niet gevonden, maar dus wel een quote op de website van Sinfonietta)

Opus Klassiek

(…) Het Amsterdam Sinfonietta heeft opnieuw een formidabele loot aan die toch al rijke cd-stam toegevoegd, met Bartóks speelse Divertimento en Brahms' Tweede strijkkwintet in G, hier omgezet naar het volbloedige strijkorkest. (…) Dankzij Jared Sacks staat het er bovendien allemaal magnifiek op. Wel moet u nog even geduld hebben: het album ligt pas vanaf 20 juni a.s. in de winkel. Die Streicher der Amsterdam Sinfonietta sind wahrlich keine unbekannten in den Konzertsälen der Welt. Ihre stilistische Vielseitigkeit kennt anscheinend keine Grenzen – oder doch? (…)


(...) The performance is indisputably strong, as one might expect from this ensemble. Despite the greater sonic weight there’s no danger of the musical argument being muddied. Form and emotion are scrupulously balanced throughout and counterpoint is pristine in its clarity. (...) The disc’s raison d’être (...) is the Bartók Divertimento, which gets a terrific performance here. The playing blends muscularity with detail, rhythms are trenchant and incisive, and the shifting dynamic contrasts between the concertante soloists is beautifully and precisely observed.

MusicWeb International

The performances are superbly prepared and colourful and lively, oozing that aura of live playing that comes from frequent stage experience with both works. With expert and impressively vibrant performances such as these you can’t go wrong.

Nederlands Dagblad

Het Amsterdamse orkest vertolkt deze muziek met zwier. (…) de ‘kleine’ muziek van Brahms klinkt ‘groot’ bij het orkest (…) mooie tegenstelling tussen Brahms en Bartók

Het Parool

Sinfonietta kerft in de ziel (...)

Technical Specifications

Recording Type Bit Rate64fs
Mastering RoomGrimm LS1
Cablesvan den Hul
Mixing BoardRens Heijnis custom made
Editing SoftwarePyramix
Recording SoftwareMerging
Digital ConvertersGrimm A/D
MicrophonesBruel & Kyaer, Schoeps
Mastering EngineerJared Sacks
Recording EngineerJared Sacks
ProducerWillem de Bordes
Recording LocationStadsgehoorzaal Leidn