Monday, January 17, 2011

Awards 2010: Choral

Martin: Golgotha
soloists; Cappella Amsterdam; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Reuss
Harmonia Mundi

For some reason Choral proved to be one of the weaker categories this year, not so much because of the quality of the contenders but simply because these albums didn't end up with many of the usual top accolades. A look at just the final scores might suggest that no recording quite caught the critics' imagination in the same way as in other categories, but that said, there was plenty of appreciation for the winner, a recording of a work that Gramophone's Malcolm Riley called "one of the most important choral works of the 20th century". Describing this as "A revelatory recording", Riley predicts that it "will many new devotees" to the work. Meanwhile in American Record Guide, Lindsay Koob reveals "A long-standing wish of mine has come true: I now have the chance to cover a truly outstanding recording of Frank Martin's towering oratorio", going on to say that "You simply can't imagine how utterly holy this music is until you've heard it. And if you haven't heard it, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better, more utterly profound or convincing account of this music than this".
Perhaps unusually, the runners-up include an explicitly Christmassy disc - fare that tends to be glossed over in seasonal round-ups. The rest of the albums come from such disparate figures as Herbert Howells, Kurt Weill, and Rued Langgaard.

Howells: "St John's Magnificat". Choir of St John's College, Cambridge/Andrew Netsingha [Chandos]
"Das Berliner Requiem" - music of Weill, Hindemith, Stravinsky & Milhaud. I Solisti del Vento; Flemish Radio Choir/Paul Hillier [Glossa]
Langgaard: Music of the Spheres, etc. Danish National Symphony Orchestra & choirs/Thomas Dausgaard [Dacapo]
"In terra pax". City of London Choir; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Hilary Davan Wetton [Naxos]

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