Friday, December 07, 2018

Classical Music Grammy Nominees For 2019

Performance

Best Orchestral Performance

All from the USA.
  • "Beethoven: Symphony No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1"
    Manfred Honeck, conductor (Performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • "Nielsen: Symphony No. 3 & Symphony No. 4"
    Thomas Dausgaard, conductor (Performed by the Seattle Symphony)
  • "Ruggles, Stucky & Harbison: Orchestral Works"
    David Alan Miller, conductor (Performed by the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic)
  • "Schumann: Symphonies Nos. 1-4"
    Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (Performed by the San Francisco Symphony)
  • "Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11"Andris Nelsons, conductor (Performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra

 Best Opera Recording

From many places, many styles.
  • John Adams, "Doctor Atomic"
    John Adams, conductor; Aubrey Allicock, Julia Bullock, Gerald Finley & Brindley Sherratt; Friedemann Engelbrecht, producer (Performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra; BBC Singers)  CD
  • Mason Bates, "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs"
    Michael Christie, conductor; Sasha Cooke, Jessica E. Jones, Edwards Parks, Garrett Sorenson & Wei Wu; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (Performed by the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra) CD
  • Lully, "Alceste"
    Christophe Rousset, conductor; Edwin Crossley-Mercer, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro & Judith Van Wanroij; Maximilien Ciup, producer (Performed by Les Talens Lyriques; Choeur De Chambre De Namur) CD
  • Strauss, "Der Rosenkavalier"
    Sebastian Weigle, conductor; Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Günther Groissböck & Erin Morley; David Frost, producer (Performed by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Metropolitan Opera Chorus) DVD
  • Verdi, "Rigoletto"
    Constantine Orbelian, conductor; Francesco Demuro, Dmitri Hvorostovsky & Nadine Sierra; Vilius Keras & Aleksandra Keriene, producers (Performed by the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra; the Men of the Kaunas State Choir) CD

 Best Choral Performance

  • Chesnokov's "Teach Me Thy Statues"
    Vladimir Gorbik, conductor (Performed by Mikhail Davydov & Vladimir Krasov; PaTRAM Institute Male Choir)
  • Kastalsky's "Memory Eternal"
    Steven Fox, conductor (Performed by the Clarion Choir)
  • McLoskey's "Zealot Canticles"
    Donald Nally, conductor (Performed by Doris Hall-Gulati, Rebecca Harris, Arlen Hlusko, Lorenzo Raval & Mandy Wolman; The Crossing)
  • Rachmaninov's "The Bells"
    Mariss Jansons, conductor; Peter Dijkstra, chorus master (Performed by Oleg Dolgov, Alexey Markov & Tatiana Pavlovskaya; Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Chor Des Bayerischen Rundfunks)
  • "Seven Words From the Cross"
    Matthew Guard, conductor (Performed by Skylark)

 Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

  • "Landfall"
    Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet
  • "Beethoven, Shostakovich & Bach"
    The Danish String Quartet
  • "Blueprinting"
    Aizuri Quartet
  • Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring Concerto for Two Pianos"
    Leif Ove Andsnes & Marc-André Hamelin
  • "Visions and Variations"
    A Far Cry

 Best Classical Instrumental Solo

  • Bartok's "Piano Concerto No. 2"
    Yuja Wang; Simon Rattle, conductor (Performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker)
  • Biber's "The Mystery Sonatas"
    Christina Day Martinson; Martin Pearlman, conductor (Performed by the Boston Baroque)
  • Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46; Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26"
    Joshua Bell (Performed by the Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields)
  • Glass, "Three Pieces in the Shape of a Square"
    Craig Morris
  • Kernis' "Violin Concerto"
    James Ehnes; Ludovic Morlot, conductor (Performed by the Seattle Symphony)

 Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

Two of five are countertenors. None of the usual bunch.
  • "ARC"
    Anthony Roth Costanzo; Jonathan Cohen, conductor
  • "The Handel Album"
    Philippe Jaroussky; Artaserse, ensemble
  • "Mirages"
    Sabine Devieilhe; François-Xavier Roth, conductor
  • Schubert, "Winterreise"
    Randall Scarlata; Gilbert Kalish, accompanist
  • "Songs of Orpheus — Monteverdi, Caccini, D'India & Landi"
    Karim Sulayman; Jeannette Sorrell, conductor; Apollo's Fire, ensembles

 Best Classical Compendium

  • Fuchs, "Piano Concerto 'Spiritualist'; Poems of Life; Glacier; Rush"
    JoAnn Falletta, conductor; Tim Handley, producer
  • "Gold"
    The King's Singers; Nigel Short, producer
  • "The John Adams Edition"
    Simon Rattle, conductor; Christoph Franke, producer
  • "John Williams at the Movies"
    Jerry Junkin, conductor; Donald J. McKinney, producer
  • Williams' "Piano Concerto; Oboe Concerto; Seranade to Music; Flos Campi"
    Peter Oundjian, conductor; Blanton Alspaugh, producer

 Best Contemporary Classical Composition

  • "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs"
    Mason Bates, composer; Mark Campbell, librettist
  • "Air Glow"
    Du Yun, composer
  • "Great Scott"
    Jake Heggie, composer; Terrence McNally, librettist
  • "Violin Concerto"
    Aaron Jay Kernis, composer
  • "Vespers for Violin"
    Missy Mazzoli, composer

Production

Best Engineered Album, Classical

  • "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs"
    Mark Donahue & Dirk Sobotka, engineers; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Performed by Michael Christie, Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu, Sasha Cooke, Edwards Parks, Jessica E. Jones & Santa Fe Opera Orchestra)
  • "Beethoven: Symphony No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1"
    Mark Donahue, engineer; Mark Donahue, mastering engineer (Performed by Manfred Honeck & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • "John Williams at the Movies"
    Keith O. Johnson & Sean Royce Martin, engineers; Keith O. Johnson, mastering engineer (Performed by Jerry Junkin & Dallas Winds)
  • "Liquid Melancholy — Clarinet Music of James M. Stephenson"
    Bill Maylone & Mary Mazurek, engineers; Bill Maylone, mastering engineer (Performed by John Bruce Yeh)
  • "Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4& 11"
    Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Performed by Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra)
  • "Visions and Variations"
    Tom Caulfield, engineer; Jesse Lewis, mastering engineer (Performed by A Far Cry)

Producer Of The Year, Classical

  • Blanton Alspaugh
  • David Frost
  • Elizabeth Ostrow
  • Judith Sherman
  • Dirk Sobotka

Here is a post script due to the presence of Renee Fleming.

Best Musical Theater Album:

  • “The Band’s Visit” — Etai Benson, Adam Kantor, Katrina Lenk & Ari’el
    Stachel, principal soloists; Dean Sharenow & David
    Yazbek, producers; David Yazbek, composer & lyricist
    (Original Broadway Cast)
  • “Carousel” — Renee Fleming, Alexander Gemignani, Joshua Henry,
    Lindsay Mendez & Jessie Mueller, principal soloists;
    Steven Epstein, producer (Richard Rodgers, composer;
    Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist) (2018 Broadway Cast)
  • “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” — Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper, Ben Daniels, Brandon
    Victor Dixon, Erik Grönwall, Jin Ha, John Legend,
    Norm Lewis & Jason Tam, principal soloists; Harvey
    Mason, Jr., producer (Andrew Lloyd-Webber,
    composer; Tim Rice, lyricist) (Original Television Cast)
  • “My Fair Lady” — Lauren Ambrose, Norbert Leo Butz & Harry
    Hadden-Paton, principal soloists; Andre Bishop, Van
    Dean, Hattie K. Jutagir, David Lai, Adam Siegel & Ted
    Sperling, producers (Frederick Loewe, composer; Alan
    Jay Lerner, lyricist) (2018 Broadway Cast)
  • “Once On This Island” — Phillip Boykin, Merle Dandridge, Quentin Earl
    Darrington, Hailey Kilgore, Kenita R. Miller, Alex
    Newell, Isaac Powell & Lea Salonga, principal soloists;
    Lynn Ahrens, Hunter Arnold, Ken Davenport, Stephen
    Flaherty & Elliot Scheiner, producers (Stephen
    Flaherty, composer; Lynn Ahrens, lyricist) (New
    Broadway Cast)

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Otello is Here


Musikalische Leitung / Conductor Kirill Petrenko
Inszenierung / Production Amélie Niermeyer

Otello Jonas Kaufmann
Jago Gerald Finley
Cassio Evan Leroy Johnson
Roderigo Galeano Salas
Lodovico Bálint Szabó
Montano Milan Siljanov
Ein Herold Markus Suihkonen
Desdemona Anja Harteros
Emilia Rachael Wilson

This performance of Verdi's Otello from Munich is unquestionably a masterpiece. We have here the ultimate domestic violence story.  It was a simple regie production in modern dress with many pictures to be seen here.  There are a few plot alterations.  Normally Otello and Desdemona are married before the opera starts, but here they marry shortly after he returns from war, after the love duet.  People enter and cover their bed with flowers.

In the past I have doubted that this opera was exactly right for Jonas Kaufmann, but now I may have to reconsider.  He refrained from pushing, as do many tenors here, and won me over.  This Otello is not black but he is also not beautiful.  This is why it is so easy for him to believe that this particular woman doesn't love him.  He believes in himself as a warrior but not as a lover.  Jonas has created this character in the manner of the great performer he certainly is.  We are lucky to live in his time.

The sets and staging focus on the couple and their relationship, and who better to play this couple than the great opera stage couple of our own era:  Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros.  Anja is a stage creature.  To come to her greatest triumphs requires the stage where she can show voice, movement, beauty, expression and I think perhaps most of all acting.  In my mind I think of Desdemona as a light, relatively insignificant role.  With Anja we have the greatest depths of tragedy.  We have love and fear together in abundance.  Like many others before and after, she prepares for her own death and does not think of escaping.  It was a triumph.

And as if that were not enough we have the dream Iago of Gerald Finley, one of the greatest singing actors in opera.  You need to overlook the outfit where he wears baggy pants and Adidas.  He approaches Otello rather more intimately than one would generally expect, creating a new dimension to the opera.  Our imaginations immediately leap to lovers.  Could it be jealousy that motivates all this mayhem?

Petrenko was marvelous, as usual.  In my group people complained that he is seen rather more during the drama than they would prefer.  At the start they jumped immediately to film of Anja, which meant no shots of Petrenko.

This was a genuinely great thing.  I'm going to watch it again tomorrow.

P.S.  I did.  It was wonderful the second time, too.