Gramophone Awards 2012

Accolades for Askonas Holt artists.

Known as the Oscars of Classical Music, two of Askonas Holt’s most prolific singers scooped the two solo vocal awards, one of the world’s most respected pianists was awarded the new prize The Piano Award, and one of music’s towering figures won no fewer than four awards at the 2012 Gramophone Awards.

The Recital Award went to Iestyn Davies for his “superb collection of 18th century arias written for the castrato Gaetano Guadagni”, and the citation hails Iestyn Davies’ “sublime singing” with the words “it has taken surprisingly long for someone to produce an intelligently chosen and stylishly performed recital exploring Guadagni’s career, and Iestyn Davies has done just that”. In his acceptance speech, hot off the plane from New York where he is rehearsing for the Met’s forthcoming production of The Tempest, Iestyn welcomed the support he has received from Simon Perry at Hyperion, the generosity of the philanthropist  Simon Yates who sponsored the disc, and of course the pleasure of working with his brilliant friend Jonathan Cohen and the wonderful players of Arcangelo. Please click here to read the full citation.

The Solo Vocal award was given to Simon Keenlyside for his deeply heartfelt and highly acclaimed CD Songs of War.  Unable to leave New York, where he is rehearsing the role of Prospero in The Tempest, Simon talked from the Met’s auditorium about his love for these amazing songs, his gratitude to Sony Classical for allowing him to record such a very personal collection of songs, and naturally his gratitude to his ‘partner in crime’ Malcolm Martineau, who accepted the award on his behalf.  The citation talks of Simon’s “great singing, bringing a huge dramatic range to these powerful songs” and ends  simply by saying this is “a peak achievement for both artists”. Please click here to read the full citation.    

A new prize, the Piano Award, went to one of today’s most respected musicians and pianists, the great Murray Perahia, a special tribute both for the celebrations of his glorious forty year partnership with CBS/Sony Classical and for the “sensibility, lyricism and naturalness of this exceptional pianist which Gramophone has long celebrated”.  The citation says “to everything he has touched, Murray Perahia has brought distinction and a musical ease that has seemed effortless”.  Murray Perahia spoke with great eloquence, dignity and humour from New York about his astonishing career and his gratitude to Gramophone, and his wife Ninette collected the Award on his behalf. Please click here to read the full citation.

Claudio Abbado, one of the greatest figures in music today, won no fewer than four awards – the Concerto Award for the Berg and Beethoven violon concertos with Isabelle Faust, “meticulously probing Berg’s and Beethoven’s intentions but conveying also a sense that such peaks of human achievement are something you assume from within not take by force from without”;  the DVD performance award for his “compelling performance” of Bruckner’s massive Fifth Symphony with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra;  and – again with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra – the Opera Award for Fidelio for which the citation says that “if Fidelio speaks of the miraculous resilience of the human spirit, Claudio Abbado’s late recreation of it serves only to compound that miracle”.   This extraordinary trio of awards was then topped by the Lifetime Achievement Award – summed up by Daniel Harding with the words “his vision has left an imprint on every orchestra in Europe”. Please follow the links below to read the full citations:
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Concerto Award
DVD Performance Award
Opera Award 

A coda to the celebrations of these achievements was the award to the recently discovered and emotionally charged performance of Smetana’s Ma Vlast by the legendary conductor Vaclav Talich, who was the teacher and mentor of the late great Sir Charles Mackerras, and Sir Charles’s achievements in bringing then largely unknown Czech repertoire to a world wide audience was hailed in the acceptance speech by Vaclav Talich’s granddaughter.



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