Awards - Gramophone Awards 2017 - Recording of the Year

by Chris O'Reilly. 13th September 2017

The Presto editorial team are currently over at 8 Northumberland Avenue for the annual Gramophone Awards, where this year's special awards and of course the coveted Recording of the Year prize have just been announced…

The overall category-winners (which were revealed on 1st September) are listed below, and you can also browse through the complete shortlist of finalists here.

Do also visit our Gramophone Awards special offer page - until 6th November we're offering great discounts on all twelve titles.

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Recording of the Year

Mozart: Complete Violin Concertos

Isabelle Faust (violin), Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini

The Recording of the Year prize has been awarded to Isabelle Faust, Giovanni Antonini and Il Giardino Armonico for their 'thought-provoking and eminently enjoyable cycle' of Mozart's Violin Concertos on Harmonia Mundi.

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Artist of the Year - Vasily Petrenko

The principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is already something of a Gramophone Awards veteran - after scooping the Orchestral Award in 2009 and 2011 for his Liverpool recordings of Tchaikovsky's Manfred and Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony, he featured twice in this year's nominations (his Tchaikovsky and Lalo with violinist Augustin Hadelich was shortlisted for the Concerto Award, and the second instalment of his Tchaikovsky Symphonies cycle was a finalist in the Orchestral category). You can read Katherine's interview with him about the latter recording here.

Browse the full list of his currently available recordings here.

Lifetime Achievement Award - Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

The New Zealand-born lyric soprano won Artist of the Year at the 1982 Awards (the same year in which she was made a Dame), following a decade of outstanding performances and recordings of Mozart and Strauss roles in particular. It was as Strauss's Marschallin that she made her final operatic appearance in 2009 (though her cameo role in the Royal Opera House's Fille du Regiment in 2014 took the Presto team's breath away!); recent years have seen her focusing on nurturing emerging talent through the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, the Solti Foundation and her close association with BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, and this morning she formally announced her retirement from public performance.

Browse the full list of her currently available recordings here.

Young Artist of the Year - Beatrice Rana

The 24 year old Italian pianist first came to international prominence in 2013, when she won the Silver Medal and the Audience Prize in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Two years later, she signed to Warner Classics, making her debut on the label with Antonio Pappano and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky Concertos which prompted Gramophone to declare 'Rana is fierce! And not only as a pianist but as a fully developed artist of a stature that belies her tender years'. More recently, her recording of the Goldberg Variations was described as ‘emotionally multi-faceted’ (Gramophone), ‘vividly characterised’ (BBC Music Magazine) and ‘supremely intelligent’ (Sunday Times).

Label of the Year - Signum Classics

The Label of the Year accolade is a surprise twentieth-birthday present for Signum, a privately-owned boutique label with special interests in choral and contemporary repertoire; now numbering over 500 recordings, their catalogue includes the celebrated Winged Lion series (featuring Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort), the complete works of Thomas Tallis with Chapelle du Roi and numerous acclaimed recordings from artists such as Tenebrae, The King's Singers, the Philharmonia Orchestra and Classical Opera Company. Highlights this year have included Jonathan Dove's new song-cycle In Damascus, a Shostakovich series with Peter Donohoe, Chineke!'s debut recording of Dvorak and Sibelius, and Paul McCreesh's super-sized take on Haydn's The Seasons, which was nominated for the Choral Award.

You can browse the complete Signum catalogue here.

Special Achievement - Colin Matthews for NMC

The British composer Colin Matthews founded NMC Recordings in 1989 to bring contemporary classical music to a wider audience - the label grew out of his work with The Holst Foundation (which he set up in 1984 with Gustav Holst's daughter Imogen), and now runs to almost 300 releases, including a huge number of world premiere recordings. Much of Matthews's own music has appeared on the label, including his Violin Concerto (released last year and praised as 'lyrically rewarding and memorably orchestrated' by Record Review), the song-cycle The Great Journey, and his orchestration of Britten's Les illuminations. In 2009 The NMC Songbook won Best Contemporary CD at the Gramophone Awards, and in 2015 the label was awarded the RPS Leslie Boosey Award for its outstanding contribution to the furthering of contemporary music in Britain.

Browse all available recordings of Colin Matthews's music here.

Anniversary Award - Classic FM

At 6AM on 7th September 1992, the UK’s first national commercial radio station made its debut on air (the first work broadcast was Handel's Zadok The Priest, which has since become a regular fixture in their annual Hall of Fame); Classic FM now attracts over 5 million listeners each week, thanks to their mission to 'make classical music a relevant part of the modern lifestyle'. Other accolades have included UK Radio Brand Of The Year at the Sony Awards in 2013, Station of the Year at the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards in 2011, and a gold award from the Sony Radio Academy for an 'outstanding contribution to British radio over the past two decades'. As well as their focus on popular core repertoire, the station are also committed to supporting accessible contemporary classical music, with previous composers in residence including Joby Talbot, Patrick Hawes and Howard Goodall.

You can browse all our currently available Classic FM recordings here.

Category Winners

Baroque Instrumental

The Italian Job: Baroque Instrumental Music from the Italian States

La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler

"A fresh, zinging tone alive with vitality and enjoyment, an effortless easy panache from both ensemble and soloists...underpinned by a scholarly attittude to programming and performance style which is yet worn with a light grace."

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Baroque Vocal

JS Bach: Cantatas Nos 54, 82 & 170

Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

"The dominant virtue in this fine collaboration between the outstanding Davies and Arcangelo lies in an unsentimental perspicacity, reassuring in its intelligence and deep sensitivity."

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Chamber

Bacewicz: String Quartets

Silesian Quartet

"A compelling portrait of a powerfully original creative spirit...the whole group seem to understand this life-affirming music from the inside."

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Choral

Mozart: 'Great' Mass in C minor and Exsultate, jubilate

Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Bach Collegium Japan Chorus & Orchestra, Masaaki Suzuki

"The choir are well drilled and the two female soloists are matched as well as any on disc...Suzuki is no speed merchant, and maintains the through line in more strenuous movements."

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Concerto

Mozart: Complete Violin Concertos

Isabelle Faust (violin), Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini

"These wonderful performances have the air of chamber music, of close listening between soloist, band and director...[a] thought-provoking and eminently enjoyable cycle."

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Contemporary

Musica Viva 22: Benjamin, Ligeti and Murail

Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano), Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, George Benjamin

"The Bavarians’ playing is special…Aimard is as strong an advocate as always [in Le désenchantement du monde], and Murail devotees should not hesitate."

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Early Music

Dowland: Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares

Elizabeth Kenny (lute), Phantasm

"Phantasm’s performances are totally convincing and absorbing...their acuity to the music’s ever-active emotional flux leaves them unafraid to use forceful gestures of articulation and dynamics to make a point."

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Instrumental

JS Bach: French Suites

Murray Perahia (piano)

"As we expect from Perahia, everything sounds natural and inevitable. Ego doesn’t come into it: rather, he acts as a conduit between composer and audience with a purity that few can emulate."

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Opera

Berg: Wozzeck (DVD)

Christian Gerhaher, Gun-Brit Barkmin, Brandon Jovanovich; Opernhaus Zurich, Fabio Luisi, Andreas Homoki (dir.)

"This is a finely honed production that follows its premise to an absurdist conclusion with slick theatricality and dispassionate zeal...All sentimentalism is banished here."

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Berg: Wozzeck (Blu-ray)

Christian Gerhaher, Gun-Brit Barkmin, Brandon Jovanovich; Opernhaus Zurich, Fabio Luisi, Andreas Homoki (dir.)

"This is a finely honed production that follows its premise to an absurdist conclusion with slick theatricality and dispassionate zeal...All sentimentalism is banished here."

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Orchestral

Haydn 2032 Volume 4 - Il Distratto

Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini

"As in the previous volumes, the orchestral playing is breathtaking in its accuracy -the sort of Haydn playing you dream of…this may well become the period-instrument Haydn cycle by which all others are measured."

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Recital

In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo), Il Pomo d'Oro, Maxim Emelyanychev

"In War & Peace finds DiDonato back on Baroque ground for the first time in a while, and it’s a joyful musical homecoming...Drama, as ever with DiDonato, is everything. Ornamentation serves narrative first, ego second."

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Solo Vocal

Brahms: Vier ernste Gesänge

Matthias Goerne (baritone) & Christoph Eschenbach (piano)

"This is supremely seductive Lieder singing, with a natural intelligence and ease with the words, matched by playing from Christoph Eschenbach that coaxes and caresses the piano with loving delicacy."

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