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 Recording of the Week  Gramophone Awards announced last Friday

This year’s Gramophone Awards took place last Friday at London’s Dorchester Hotel. As usual Gramophone put on an excellent show, and there were memorable live performances from Mark Padmore and Joyce DiDonato (the latter accompanied on the piano by Antonio Pappano). All three had winning discs this year and DiDonato also picked up a richly deserved Artist of the Year award - the result of an international, online poll. Another highlight of the day for me was to see pianist Alfred Brendel (who retired from the concert platform last year) there picking up a lifetime achievement award. It is a testimony to the reverence in which the Gramophone Awards are still held that someone who has achieved as much as he has in his lifetime was still clearly quite moved to be collecting such an award.

You can read full details of this year’s winners on our awards page, but I’d just like to take the opportunity to mention a few things here in a little more detail.

The Cardinall’s Musick
The Cardinall’s Musick

Firstly the big one - Record of the Year - this went to The Cardinall's Musick and Andrew Carwood for their thirteenth and final volume in their Complete Byrd Edition on Hyperion. Recording the compete works of one of England’s greatest composers, William Byrd (c.1540–1623), is a truly monumental achievement, and I think the Record of the Year Award really reflects the success and musical expertise of the whole series rather than just this final volume. This volume though contains some of the composer’s most sublime and original music (drawn in the main from the 1591 Cantiones Sacrae collection), and if you haven’t sampled any of the previous volumes I would strongly suggest starting with this one and working backwards. In fact you don’t currently have much choice in which direction to work through this series as Universal (who own the rights for the first nine volumes) have deleted the first four of them, and don’t currently feel there is enough demand to justify re-pressing them. Hopefully this award will make them reconsider and they’ll become available again before long.

After picking up a Gramophone Award for their recording of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius last year, the Hallé Orchestra under their principal conductor Sir Mark Elder have gone one better by picking up two awards this year: one for the Elgar Violin Concerto with soloist Thomas Zehetmair, and another for a superb performance of Wagner's Götterdämmerung - another example of a successful opera recording derived from live concert performances which is increasingly becoming the norm for recording opera.

We’ve got a special offer on the Hallé’s recordings at the moment so it is an excellent time to look at these as well as the other things on the label. I’m told that there is a recording of Elgar’s ‘The Kingdom’ due very shortly which promises to be fantastic, and will let you know about that in this weekly newsletter when it appears.

Finally I’d just like to mention this year’s Label of the Year, the Scotland-based Linn Records. The second of their two volumes of Mozart Symphonies with the late great Sir Charles Mackerras was just pipped to the orchestral award by one of Sir Charles’ other recordings, Dvorak’s Symphonic Poems on Supraphon. With recent recordings from groups like the Dunedin Consort, the Avison Ensemble and viol group Phantasm (also a runner up this year), soloists like tenor James Gilchrist (new disc out today - see the New Releases section below), and pianist Artur Pizarro, there is much to enjoy on the label and also a particularly good time to browse through their many delights as we’re currently offering 25% off everything on the label.

Byrd Edition Volume 13 - Infelix ego

Gramophone Awards 2010 - Record of the Year

The Cardinall's Musick, Andrew Carwood

Available Format: CD