Classical Music doesn't get a lot of press out of the Grammy's. You never see a classical artist leading the list for most nominations. However, it is worth noting the artists up for best classical album this year.
"Maria," Cecilia Bartoli, Christopher Raeburn, producer (Adam Fischer, Orchestra La Scintilla)
"Tarik O'Regan: Threshold Of Night," Craig Hella Johnson, conductor, Blanton Alspaugh, producer (Company Of Strings; Company Of Voices & Conspirare)
"Schoenberg/Sibelius: Violin Concertos," Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor, Hilary Hahn, Sid McLauchlan and Arend Prohmann, producers (Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra)
"Spotless Rose: Hymns To The Virgin Mary," Charles Bruffy, conductor, Phoenix Chorale, Blanton Alspaugh, producer
"Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny" James Conlon, conductor, Anthony Dean Griffey, Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald, Fred Vogler, producer (Donnie Ray Albert, John Easterlin, Steven Humes, Mel Ulrich and Robert Worle; Los Angeles Opera Chorus, Los Angeles Opera Orchestra)
If you've not listened to these albums, you really need to. The music is amazing, the performances are first rate and how the Grammy's are going to choose between them is beyond me. Part of me is rooting for Hilary, but when I listened to the Weill or the "Maria" I was stunned at how beautiful the albums were. It really is an amazing collection of music.
Interesting to note, the Denver Post listed their 10 Classical Albums that mattered in 2008 and the only Grammy nominee on the list is Hilary Hahn.
In the category of Best Orchestral Performance the nominees are:
- D'Indy: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 Rumon Gamba, conductor (Iceland Symphony Orchestra) [Chandos]
Glazunov: Symphony No. 6, La Mer, Introduction And Dance From Salome José Serebrier, conductor (Royal Scottish National Orchestra) [Warner Classics & Jazz]
Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, Op. 20 Alan Gilbert, conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) Track from: Traditions And Transformations: Sounds Of Silk Road Chicago [CSO Resound]
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 Bernard Haitink, conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) [CSO Resound]
Walden, Chris: Symphony No. 1, The Four Elements Chris Walden, conductor (Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra) [Origin Classical]
I'm not as impressed with this selection, but that could be the music and not the performance. I really enjoy the Walden Symphony No. 1, but it's not of the class (IMHO) of the other pieces. The music is lovely neo-romantic music with occasional jazz influences, but not strickingly new music. In many respects the music is very similar to my own symphony, some nice melodies, some interesting elements, but not really new. But it's a first symphony.
If my comments sounds slightly like sour grapes (Chris Walden got nominated for a Grammy with his first symphony; I'm still working on getting noticed), I hope not. His symphony is better than mine, musically - and certainly his recording is. It's not that his music isn't good, it is, it's interesting and very enjoyable to listen to. It just doesn't push the bounds of music that I think a new work should. Regardless, this is a huge honor for Chris and I wish him all the best.
Best Opera Recording
Dun, Tan: The First Emperor
Tan Dun, conductor; Michelle DeYoung, Plácido Domingo, Elizabeth Futral, Paul Groves, Wu Hsing-Kuo & Hao Jiang Tian; Jay David Saks, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus) [EMI Classics]
Paul O´Dette & Stephen Stubbs, conductors; Colin Balzer, Karina Gauvin, Carolyn Sampson & Aaron Sheehan; Renate Wolter-Seevers, producer (Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra; Boston Early Music Festival Chorus) [CPO]
Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor; Sara Mingardo, Monica Piccinini, Anna Simboli & Furio Zanasi; Jean-Pierre Loisil, producer (Concerto Italiano) [Naive Classique]
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
Valery Gergiev, conductor; Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky & Ramón Vargas; Jay David Saks, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus) [Decca]
Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny
James Conlon, conductor; Anthony Dean Griffey, Patti LuPone & Audra McDonald; Fred Vogler, producer (Donnie Ray Albert, John Easterlin, Steven Humes, Mel Ulrich & Robert Wörle; Los Angeles Opera Orchestra; Los Angeles Opera Chorus) [EuroArts]
The only recording of these I have listened to is Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny work, and it is also the only one also up for Best Classical Album which bodes well for it winning this category (if not also Best Classical Album). However, that said, I really love the operas Eugene Onegin and L'Orfeo so again I am torn as to who I would like to see win.