Working out of Trondheim, Norway, the Solistene are an important national string chamber orchestra that takes on a program of familiar chamber works that will delight lovers this repertoire. The Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence and Serenade for Strings are both works that will be very familiar, laden with one gorgeous melody after another. Although the Souvenir was originally written for a sextet, the additional voices do not blur the musical lines in any way. Two pieces by Danish composer Carl Nielsen complete the list. “At the Bier of a Young Artist” is a 5-minute elegy while the Suite for String Orchestra is an absolute compact gem.
Recorded at 352.8kHz/24-bit DXD , this disc has mixed down versions to 192kHz/24-bit in both two-channel and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio as well as a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. and an Auro-3D track both at 96kHz/24-bit resolutions. Not having a seven or nine channel set up, I cannot tell you how they sounded. However the 5.1 and 2.0 versions were just splendid. The 2L label always picks great recording locations and the Selbu Church was no exception. For those interested in the surround layout, there are diagrams in the booklet for each piece. WAV and higher resolution FLAC (192/24 or 96/24) soundtracks can be downloaded to your computer or NAS; MP3 files are also available but at a significant sonic penalty.
There is a booklet of liner notes about the pieces, and the technical aspects of the recording, including placement of the players.
The Definitive Word
Classical music lovers rejoice, works for small string orchestra do not get any better than this, end of discussion. The Trondheim ensemble understands how to get the most of these pieces and the recording engineers bathe listeners in a wash of gleaming sonics. The sandwiching of the Nielsen compositions between the two Tchaikovsky works was a good programming idea, both in contrast and avoids a sweetness overdose. In listening to these players present this repertoire, I was left wondering why we do not get more discs with intelligent programming, great performance and superb sound. My lasting gratitude to 2L for giving us a BD like this one.
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