The shortlist for the 2017 Annual Gramophone Awards is announced, and IMG Artists is delighted to congratulate its extraordinary nominated artists. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the “Oscars for Classical Music” will be announced on 13 September at a star-studded ceremony held in London’s dazzling venue 8 Northumberland Avenue. The awards and performances will be streamed live to a global audience on Medici.tv.
Congratulations to all of the artists whose celebrated recordings have inspired listeners this year.
Stéphane Degout, baritone for F Couperin Ariane consolée par Bacchusa (Aparté) with Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset, harpsichord
Julie Anne Sadie writes in her review:
“This Ariane consolée par Bacchus, somewhat unusually, is for a baritone. Although best known as an opera singer and recitalist of later repertoire, Stéphane Degout adjusts his voice to the varied pace within the recitatives and expresses words such as ‘douceur’ in the first Air and the tongue-twisting text of the ritournelle in the final Air with the lightest touch. Moreover, the acoustic of the Eglise Saint-Pierre (Paris) allows us to enjoy both the warmth of his voice and the detail of his fluent ornamentation.”
“Vasily Petrenko on the podium, injecting excitement to proceedings…with his exaggerated tempo changes. Petrenko allows no stodge to clog the orchestral arteries and he builds up a terrific head of steam in the coda.”
“There is plenty of beef here, both in the violin tone and in the LPO’s partnering, Omer Meir Wellber drawing out Spanish fire and stamping heels from this colourful – and strangely neglected – score.”
“The excellent Alexander Vedernikov. This might be special…Tharaud and Vedernikov decide to share the battle honours and storm home as equal partners to thrilling effect.”
“As we expect from Perahia, everything sounds natural and inevitable. Ego doesn’t come into it: rather, he acts as a conduit between composer and audience with a purity that few can emulate…Perahia’s ornamentation could fill the review on its own, for he’s happy to take risks, yet they never sound like risks, so firmly are they sewn into the musical cloth. …I’ve only had this recording for five days but I predict a long and happy future in its company.”
“The conductor’s passionate temperament is yet more evident in the second and fourth movements. …he takes the players with him, transforming what can sound awkwardly tentative into a proto-Hindemithian whirlwind of colour and noise with a virtuoso dash to the finish. …This exceptional issue from the Pacific Northwest ought to be a game-changer for all concerned.”
Vasily Petrenko, conductor for Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos 3, 4 & 6 (Onyx) with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
“Vasily Petrenko’s gripping recording of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (Naxos, 1/09) tantalised listeners that a complete cycle may be in the offing. That was back in 2009. Seven years on… that wish is set to be granted. It was worth the wait: this release of Symphonies Nos 1, 2 and 5 makes the best possible start to the projected cycle. …Petrenko and the RLPO emerge from the pack strongly. …If future releases match these impetuous, glorious performances, Petrenko’s should be a cycle to be reckoned with.”
“All the markers for success are there in the first few minutes of the symphony: the expectant silence surrounding the lachrymose bassoon solo; the elegant and articulate counterpoint of the first Allegro; the fluid, unfussy arrival of the great second subject, very much an inspiration of the moment. Bychkov’s Russian roots make him mindful of Tchaikovsky’s classicism, the emotion always ‘contained’ until it can be contained no more. The explosive development section is a controlled panic attack, classical in form, neurotic in nature. But it is only when it boils over into that mighty sostenuto passage for strings answered in breast-beating trombones that the music breaks free of classical constraint and gives way to full-blown despair. It’s one of the great soul-baring moments in 19th-century symphonic music and Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic give it the fullest intensity. And yet – tellingly – the return of the second subject is fleet and songful rather than indulgently fulsome as is so often the case. Suddenly it is a beautiful aide-memoire salvaged from the despair.”
“It was for the Canadian’s…focused…heroic bass-baritone that the composer [Einojuhani Rautavaara] orchestrated seven Sibelius songs in the slipstream of his own Omar Khayyám cycle, Rubáiyát. …Winningly sung.”
“The voice has a burnished, oaky beauty as well as considerable,…while the interpretations are suffused with a gentle intelligence, an instinct for unforced but direct communication and what feels like a real love for the repertoire. …It’s a delightful selection, split up further into evocative subheadings, which mixes songs familiar and less well known, the expected with the unexpected. Schubert, Wolf and Brahms dominate the larger, German part of the programme, beautifully performed. But we also have the disarming, twinkling simplicity of Reger’s ‘Des Kindes Gebet’, as well as Adolf Strauss’s suave ‘Ich weiss bestimmt’, presented with a gentle pathos and sophistication that quietly underlines the tragedy of its having been composed in Terezín – here, as throughout, the piano-playing of James Baillieu is superb.”
Semyon Bychkov is managed in association with Enticott Music Management. Alexander Vedernikov is managed in association with Bridge Arts Management. Omer Meir Wellber and Vasily Petrenko are managed in association with Nicholas Mathias Ltd.