Recording of the Week BBC Music Magazine Awards
In the UK we have two major classical music award ceremonies each year – the Gramophone Awards (which take place each September) and the BBC Music Magazine Awards (which happen every April). I expect the Gramophone Awards carry more influence internationally as they have been going for such a long time, but the BBC Awards are in some ways more interesting as the six major categories are all decided by public vote.
The BBC Awards took place last week in London and it was particularly pleasing to see many of the discs which I’ve been championing in this column over the past year emerge on top, not least the orchestral winner and overall disc of the year which was Mozart’s Late Symphonies with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Sir Charles Mackerras.
I had a little look back at what I wrote at the time they were released:
'… superb performances, which show off the rich variety of the music. The excellent SCO shows a remarkable ability to alternate seamlessly between passages of tenderness and beauty and those of intensity and excitement. Mackerras makes sure you hear everything you need to, with every phrase carefully shaped and intricately balanced. The moderate size of the orchestra (24 string players) means that the players can really play out without having to hold back.'
The other winner that I would particularly recommend seeking out (if you haven’t already) is the Jean-Efflam Bavouzet Debussy cycle on Chandos (Volume 3 of his four volume cycle won the instrumental award). He played Reflets dans l’eau from the first book of Images live at the awards and it really was truly outstanding. These recordings are now the benchmark to which anyone tackling these works must strive.
We’ve set up a special page on the website where you can view all this year's winners as well as the other finalists from this year's awards.
I’d be interested to hear - particularly from our international readers - if there are any other awards you would like us to cover on the website. I’m of the opinion that awards are useful at the time they are announced as a reminder of some of the great recordings of the past year, and also to draw your attention to the odd one which you may have missed, or maybe passed over too quickly. I think they are also useful more generally to help decide which recording of a particular work to buy. Please do let me know if you think we should be covering any other awards.
Browse all BBC Music Magazine Awards 2009 Winners here.