Monday, January 17, 2011

Awards 2010: Concerto

Sainsbury: Violin concerto / Haydn Wood: Violin concerto
Lorraine McAslan; BBC Concert Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth, Gavin Sutherland

One of the great things about these awards is that occasionally the spotlight will fall on an album that's not especially high profile - in this case, two little-known composers, artists that don't appear on front covers, and indeed a label that while respected does occupy something of a niche. Perhaps there were other more likely winners, but this was the one that, on balance, garnered the most praise. Rob Barnett on MusicWeb called Sainsbury's 1989 concerto "a treasurable and magnificent work which loses nothing by being written in an idiom listeners will quickly recognise", while Haydn Wood's concerto is "delightful". In American Record Guide, Mark L Lehman goes all poetic: "This is music to sink into, music that will make you breathe deeper and remember with fond regret the misspent days of your long-ago youth. Looking back never goes out of fashion. It's built into the shape of our lives; we are creatures of memory and longing, "boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"". (Let me Google that for you: it's from The Great Gatsby).
From a compiler's point of view, this was an intriguing category, as several potential winners were hobbled by one negative vote from somewhere. Some of them may well feature in a future edition of "Did you even listen to the same CD?"

Beethoven, Britten: Violin concertos. Janine Jansen; Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, London Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi [Decca]
Tchaikovsky: Piano concertos nos.1-3. Stephen Hough; Minnesota Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä [Hyperion]
Prokofiev: Piano concertos nos.2, 3. Freddy Kempf; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Litton [BIS]
Martinu: Piano concertos nos.2, 4. Robert Kolinsky; Sinfonieorchester Basel/Vladimir Ashkenazy [Ondine]

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