Saturday, January 30, 2010

Awards 2009: Living Composer - Vocal

"The NMC Songbook"
various artists

It's only right that such a smart, ambitious venture should prove a winner. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, new-music label NMC commissioned a whole bunch of songs from a wide range of composers - in all, there are 96 songs on the 4 discs. "This is a stunning anthology", Carla Rees said on MusicWeb, "and NMC deserves to be justly proud of both this celebratory collection and its success over the past 20 years in bringing new music to the public". In Fanfare, Robert Carl hailed it as "an exceptional time capsule of the state of British composition in the early 21st century. What can one say generally about this? Well, the level of craft is superlative. There's hardly a clunker in the entire project. Performance level is equally outstanding". Peter Quinn in IRR praised the enterprise as "A Lucullan feast for the ears". Classicists and, er, those of us with a good dictionary handy will no doubt agree.

Jackson: "Not no faceless angel" - choral works. Polyphony/Stephen Layton [Hyperion]
MacMillan: Seven Last Words from the Cross; etc. The Dmitri Ensemble/Graham Ross [Naxos]
Pärt: "In principio". Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Estonian National Symphony Orchestra; Tallinn Chamber Orchestra/Tōnu Kaljuste [ECM New Series]
Saariaho: L'amour de loin. Ekaterina Lekhina; Marie-Ange Todorovitch; Daniel Belcher; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Kent Nagano [Harmonia Mundi]

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