Recording of the Week Gramophone Awards - The Finalists
It seems amazing to think that we’re already fast approaching Gramophone Awards time again. Generally regarded as the Oscars of the classical music world, they are the most significant honours bestowed on the classical record industry. As usual each record company was able to nominate a proportion of its annual release, and Gramophone critics then voted to produce the top three in each of the 16 categories (one more than last year as they’ve split the DVD category into two - Documentary and Performance).
There have been some superb recording achievements this year and it is great to see the Gramophone picking up on many of them here. One such superb achievement is the completion of the Cardinall's Musick’s Byrd Edition. Volume 1 came out back in 1997 on the ASV label. When that label was bought by Universal about five years ago the completion of the superb series was threatened. Thankfully the Cardinall's Musick found very willing new partners in the form of Hyperion for the last four volumes, and the final disc (Volume 13) is here short-listed for the Early Music Award. Another cycle drawn to a successful close this year is the Academy of Ancient Music and Richard Egarr’s Handel Opp. 1-7 cycle of which the two disc set of the Opp. 2 and 5 Trio Sonatas is a finalist in the Baroque Instrumental category.
The scarcity of Opera recordings these days produces an unusual-looking list in that previously hard-fought category. Mark Elder and the Hallé’s recent live recording of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung is up against the long awaited release of the 1997 BBC recording of Peter Maxwell Davies’ seminal opera Taverner and Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s first opera L'Amour de loin. Thomas Adès’ opera The Tempest meanwhile is in the Contemporary category - explain that if you can!
Tenor Jonas Kaufmann receives two nominations (in Recital and DVD Performance) as does the late great Sir Charles Mackerras - both in the Orchestral category for his discs of the Dvorak Tone Poems and Mozart’s Symphonies (Volume 2). Both are wonderful recordings and, with Dvorak and Mozart both being composers he was very closely associated with, it would be fitting if one of them could pick up the Orchestral category Award this year. Elsewhere pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s fifth and final volume of his already award winning Debussy cycle must be a hot tip in the Instrumental category, and Pappano’s Verdi Requiem fresh from its success early this year at the BBC Awards will look to repeat that success in the Choral category.
Regular readers will recognise quite a few of the other discs as well from the weekly newsletters and on the whole it is hard to argue with the selections made. We’ll reveal the overall winners on the afternoon of October 1st, along with the Artist of the Year and overall Disc of the Year.
We’ve put a special page up on the website where you can view all this year’s finalists here.