For Wednesday, February 7, on KKFI 90.1 FM Kansas City or streaming at www.kkfi.org, 9:00-11:30 pm CT, The Classical Challenge presents a selection of 2018 Classical Grammy award winners.
I don’t usually look to the Grammys for classical music recommendations. They devote so little attention to classical music and so much hype to the hip hop, R&B, and rock nominees (who, granted, sell more product in a day than even excellent classical recordings do in half a year), that it’s hard to imagine that they show great judgment.
But last week we heard a superb recording of a live performance of Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony by The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by Manfred Honeck, which won the Best Orchestral Performance Grammy this year. And when I looked at other Grammy winners, I found that I had already purchased many of them based on other recommendations. So I decided to present selections from four additional winners this Wednesday.
1-2. Franz Liszt – 2 Etudes de Concert S. 145 (Waldesrauschen and Gnomenreigen) – Daniil Trifonov (Best Classical Instrumental Solo)
3-5. Jennifer Higdon – Viola Concerto – Nashville Symphony, Roberto Diaz viola, Giancarlo Guerrero conducting (Best Contemporary Classical Composition; the album won Best Classical Compendium, whatever that means)
6. Luciano Berio – Sequenza III – Barbara Hannigan (Best Classical Solo Vocal Album)
7. after George Gershwin – Girl Crazy Suite – Barbara Hannigan and the Ludwig Orchestra (ditto)
8-17 Franz Schubert with August Normiger, Anonymous, John Dowland, Carlo Gesualdo, and Gyorgy Kurtag – Quartet for Strings D.810 “Death and the Maiden” arranged for string ensemble with interludes by the others mentioned – Saint Paul Chamber Ensemble with its concertmaster Patricia Kopatchinskaja (Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble performance)
18-23. Franz Liszt – Grandes Etudes de Paganini, S. 141 – Daniil Trifonov (see above).
The photo is of violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja (left) and composer Jennifer Higdon (right).