Saturday, January 28, 2012

Awards 2011 - Chamber

Mozart: String quartets nos.4, 17, 22
Jerusalem Quartet
Harmonia Mundi

"Acquire this CD at once", Jerry Dubins demands in his Fanfare review, and who are we to resist? "the Jerusalem's players believe strongly enough in Mozart to know instinctively that his music needs no help in expressing itself, and that the highest respect one can pay it is to play the written notes as perfectly as possible. The result is not, as you might expect, performances that are bland and characterless, but sound instead as if they are coming straight from the mind of the creator to our ears". On Classics Today, Victor Carr Jr opines "Even if you don't think you like Mozart string quartets, this exceptional disc will make you think again", while in ARG David Jacobsen says "This one is a necessity... These pieces are so popular that I often hear them played very unimaginatively and standardized. The Jerusalem Quartet does not do that, but they do not try to reinvent the wheel either. Rather, they reintroduce us to the profound simplicity and even plainness of Mozart's genius".

Beethoven: String quartets nos.12-16
Tokyo Quartet
Harmonia Mundi

Schubert: Piano duets
Paul Lewis; Steven Osborne

Patricia Kopatchinskaja and others

Bacewicz: Piano quintets nos.1 & 2; Piano sonata no.2
Krystian Zimerman; Kaja Danczowska; Agata Szymczewska; Ryszard Groblewski; Rafal Kwiatkowski
The Jerusalm Quartet won this one by quite a big margin. Perhaps that was a little surprising, though I think it was because a few likely competitors didn't quite catch fire the way I thought they might. But a good field of runners-up none the less, and I'm glad to see the not-so-well-known Grazyna Bacewicz rubbing shoulders with Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, and also to see attention paid to Patricia Kopatchinskaja's quirky collection.

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