SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

“Souvenir, Pt. 1” = TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade for Strings in C; – NIELSEN: Suite for String Orch. – Trondheim Solistene – 2L (vinyl)

Exceptional string tone on these two lovely works on vinyl.

Published on April 3, 2012

“Souvenir, Pt. 1” = TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48; NIELSEN: Suite for String Orchestra, Op. 1 – Trondheim Solistene/Oyvind Gimse / Geir Inge Lotsberg – 2L audiophile 180gr. DMM vinyl 2L-090A-LP [Distr. by Naxos] *****:

The two gentlemen responsible for the Trondheim Soloists wanted to do an album of the two pieces that represent the most beautiful music ever composed for string orchestra. Actually the Nielsen work was chosen by fans on Facebook worldwide who were asked what they would like to hear together with the familiar Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings. What is unusual about the ensemble is that each player in the orchestra sits next to someone playing a different part, rather than the same part as in conventional sections of an orchestra. This makes a subtle different in the homogeneity of the reproduced string sound, creating—in their estimation—chamber music at the very highest level.

2L is a perfectionistic operation, as seen in all their releases. They are the only label currently offering audio-only Blu-rays which also come with a multichannel SACD of the same material. This superb recording was made in a Norwegian church last year using 352.8kHz/24-bit DXD format, but won’t be released in Blu-ray form until this May. It will have both 7.1 and 5.1 surround—the first at 96K/24-bit and the second at 192K/24-bit—plus a stereo PCM track at the latter resolution.

In the meantime there are hi-res audio files to download or stream, plus we have this terrific vinyl pressing made from the DXD original and cut using Direct Metal Mastering—engraving directly in copper. The mixed voices of the Trondheim Soloists provide a new musical soundscape.  Mr. 2L—Morten Lindberg—got the idea from his several choral recordings of new music, and it makes the familiar Tchaikovsky Serenade sound fresh and exciting again. The shorter Nielsen Suite is in three movements: Prelude, Intermezzo and Finale, and being the earliest opus of the composer, is even more tonal than this later works. I remember that even though there were sonic problems with early compact disc, piano fans loved it because of the solid freedom from speed and pitch variations, but strings sounded pretty bad. They have improved greatly, but vinyl still seems to be the best format for strings. This is a glorious listening experience.

—John Sunier




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