The Well-Tempered Ear

Here is a complete list of the classical music nominations for the 54h annual Grammy Awards. Happy listening and holiday shopping! | December 2, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

Here is a complete list of classical music nominations for the 54th annual Grammy Awards. They were released Thursday.

It makes for some interesting reading, and also provides some good holiday gift-giving tips.

You should know that this year the categories have been streamlined or trimmed down, combined or eliminated, so this year’s categories do not match those of past years. Sadly, “chamber music” seems to have suffered, in my view. Also solo piano, which now covers concertos more and recitals not as much.

Nonetheless, there are some interesting things to take note of. (In coming days, I will link to analyses by more experienced observers and reviewers than myself as I find them.)

Local listeners and readers should note with pride that Judith Sherman (below) is up for Producer of the Year. She is the same woman who will supervise the recording, in Madison, of the 2-CD set of the Pro Arte Quartet Centennial Commissions for Albany Records. And The Ear, judging from the list of her major recordings and from the list of past winners, thinks she stands a very good chance of winning this year.

A major trend also seems to be the emphasis on modern and contemporary composers and compositions, along with the number of small labels and specialty recordings.

Oh, you will find some Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. But I don’t see any Chopin or Schumann, Mahler or Bruckner, Mozart or Puccini. And I suspect a lot of the names of the composers, works and performers will be unfamiliar to you.

I also don’t see many superstars, which is a good move.

Another good move is the amount of early music, which is now clearly in the mainstream of “the industry.”

Of course, these things move in cycles or pendulum-like waves, so maybe next year there will be more familiar names of composers, works and performers.

I have some suspicions about who will win, as well as some disappointments about who wasn’t nominated. And I would appreciate hearing from you what you think of the list, the whole Grammy Award process and the individual nominations along with the final winners. For example, it will be interesting to see who wins the duel between competing Rachmaninoff piano concertos – sexy Yuja Wang or hunky Leif Ove Andsnes.

But on course final word will be announced during a live TV broadcast on CBS starting at 7 p.m. CST on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012.

For more information, you can also visit.

You should also know the kind of esteem the recording industry holds classical music in. It is based on, of course, sales and money and profits. So the higher the number category, the lower the importance the industry attaches to the category – or so it seems at least. Hence, I left in the category number as well as the title of the category and the information about the nominations.

68. Best Engineered Album, Classical

Aldridge: Elmer Gantry. Byeong-Joon Hwang & John Newton, engineers; Jesse Lewis, mastering engineer (William Boggs, Keith Phares, Patricia Risley, Vale Rideout, Frank Kelley, Heather Buck, Florentine Opera Chorus & Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra) [Naxos]

Glazunov: Complete Concertos. Richard King, engineer (José Serebrier, Alexey Serov, Wen-Sinn Yang, Alexander Romanovsky, Rachel Barton Pine, Marc Chisson & Russian National Orchestra) [Warner Classics]

Mackey: Lonely Motel – Music From Slide. Tom Lazarus & Bill Maylone, engineers; Joe Lambert, mastering engineer (Rinde Eckert, Steven Mackey & Eighth Blackbird) [Cedille Records]

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4. Arne Akselberg, engineer (Leif Ove Andsnes, Antonio Pappano & London Symphony Orchestra) [EMI Classics]

Weinberg: Symphony No. 3 & Suite No. 4 From ‘The Golden Key.’ Torbjörn Samuelsson, engineer (Thord Svedlund & Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra) [Chandos]

69. Producer Of The Year, Classical

Blanton Alspaugh Aldridge: Elmer Gantry (William Boggs, Keith Phares, Patricia Risley, Vale Rideout, Frank Kelley, Heather Buck, Florentine Opera Chorus & Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra)

Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (Peter Takács)

Osterfield: Rocky Streams (Paul Osterfield, Todd Waldecker & Various Artists)

Manfred Eicher

Bach: Concertos & Sinfonias For Oboe; Ich Hatte Viel Bekümmernis (Heinz Holliger, Eric Höbarth & Camerata Bern)

Hymns & Prayers (Gidon Kremer & Kremerata Baltica)

Manto & Madrigals (Thomas Zehetmair & Ruth Killius)

Songs Of Ascension (Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, Todd Reynolds Quartet, The M6 & Montclair State University Singers)

Tchaikovsky/Kissine: Piano Trios (Gidon Kremer, Giedre Dirvanauskaite & Khatia Buniatishvili)

A Worcester Ladymass (Trio Mediaeval)

David Frost

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass Live (Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass)

Mackey: Lonely Motel – Music From Slide (Rinde Eckert, Steven Mackey & Eighth Blackbird)

Prayers & Alleluias (Kenneth Dake)

Sharon Isbin & Friends – Guitar Passions (Sharon Isbin & Various Artists)

Peter Rutenberg

Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (Patrick Dupré Quigley, James K. Bass, Seraphic Fire & Professional Choral Institute).

The Vanishing Nordic Chorale (Philip Spray & Musik Ekklesia).

Judith Sherman

Adams: Son Of Chamber Symphony; String Quartet (John Adams, St. Lawrence String Quartet & International Contemporary Ensemble).

Capricho Latino (Rachel Barton Pine).

85th Birthday Celebration (Claude Frank).

Insects & Paper Airplanes – Chamber Music Of Lawrence Dillon (Daedalus Quartet & Benjamin Hochman).

Midnight Frolic – The Broadway Theater Music Of Louis A. Hirsch (Rick Benjamin & Paragon Ragtime Orchestra).

Notable Women – Trios By Today’s Female Composers (Lincoln Trio).

The Soviet Experience, Vol. 1 – String Quartets By Dmitri Shostakovich & His Contemporaries (Pacifica Quartet).

Speak! (Anthony De Mare).

State Of The Art – The American Brass Quintet At 50 (The American Brass Quintet).

Steve Reich (below): WTC 9/11; Mallet Quartet; Dance Patterns (Kronos Quartet, Steve Reich Musicians & So Percussion).

Winging It – Piano Music Of John Corigliano (Ursula Oppens).

70. Best Orchestral Performance

Bowen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2. Andrew Davis, conductor (BBC Philharmonic) [Chandos].

Brahms: Symphony No. 4. Gustavo Dudamel (below), conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic) [Deutsche Grammaphon]

Haydn: Symphonies 104, 88 & 101. Nicholas McGegan, conductor (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra) [Philharmonia Baroque Productions]

Henze: Symphonies Nos. 3-5. Marek Janowski, conductor (Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin) [Wergo]

Martinu: The 6 Symphonies. Jirí Belohlávek, conductor (BBC Symphony Orchestra) [Onyx Classics]

71. Best Opera Recording

John Adams (below): Doctor Atomic. Alan Gilbert, conductor; Meredith Arwady, Sasha Cooke, Richard Paul Fink, Gerald Finley, Thomas Glenn & Eric Owens; Jay David Saks, producer (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Metropolitan Opera Chorus) [Sony Classical]

Britten: Billy Budd. Mark Elder, conductor; John Mark Ainsley, Phillip Ens, Jacques Imbrailo, Darren Jeffery, Iain Paterson & Matthew Rose; James Whitbourn, producer (London Philharmonic Orchestra; Glyndebourne Chorus) [Opus Arte]

Rautavaara: Kaivos. Hannu Lintu, conductor; Jaakko Kortekangas, Hannu Niemelä, Johanna Rusanen-Kartano & Mati Turi; Seppo Siirala, producer (Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Kaivos Chorus) [Ondine]

Verdi: La Traviata. Antonio Pappano, conductor; Joseph Calleja, Renée Fleming & Thomas Hampson; James Whitbourn, producer (Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Royal Opera Chorus) [Opus Arte]

Vivaldi: Ercole Sul Termodonte. Fabio Biondi, conductor; Romina Basso, Patrizia Ciofi, Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Vivica Genaux, Philippe Jaroussky, Topi Lehtipuu & Rolando Villazón; Daniel Zalay, producer (Europa Galante; Coro Da Camera Santa Cecilia Di Borgo San Lorenzo) [Virgin Classics]

72. Best Choral Performance

Beyond All Mortal Dreams – American A Cappella: Stephen Layton, conductor (Choir Of Trinity College Cambridge) [Hyperion Records].

Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45. Patrick Dupré Quigley, conductor; James K. Bass, chorus master (Justin Blackwell, Scott Allen Jarrett, Paul Max Tipton & Teresa Wakim; Professional Choral Institute & Seraphic Fire) [Seraphic Fire Media]

Kind. Kjetil Almenning, conductor (Nidaros String Quartet; Ensemble 96) [2L (Lindberg Lyd)]

Light & Gold (below) Eric Whitacre, conductor (Christopher Glynn & Hila Plitmann; The King’s Singers, Laudibus, Pavão Quartet & The Eric Whitacre Singers) [Decca]

The Natural World Of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. Paul Hillier, conductor (Ars Nova Copenhagen) [Dacapo Records]

73. Best Small Ensemble Performance

Frank: Hilos. Gabriela Lena Frank; ALIAS Chamber Ensemble [Naxos]

The Kingdoms Of Castille. Richard Savino, conductor; El Mundo [Sono Luminus]

Mackey: Lonely Motel – Music From Slide. Rinde Eckert & Steven Mackey; Eighth Blackbird [Cedille Records]

A Seraphic Fire Christmas. Patrick Dupré Quigley, conductor; Seraphic Fire [Seraphic Fire Media]

Sound The Bells! The Bay Brass [Harmonia Mundi]

74. Best Classical Instrumental Solo

Chinese Recorder Concertos – East Meets West. Lan Shui, conductor; Michala Petri (Copenhagen Philharmonic) [OUR Recordings]

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 In C Minor, Op. 18; Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini. Yuja Wang (Claudio Abbado; Mahler Chamber Orchestra) [Deutsche Grammaphon]

Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4. Leif Ove Andsnes (Antonio Pappano; London Symphony Orchestra) [EMI Classics]

Schwantner: Concerto For Percussion & Orchestra. Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Christopher Lamb (Nashville Symphony) Track from: Schwantner: Chasing Light… [Naxos]

Winging It – Piano Music Of John Corigliano. Ursula Oppens [Cedille Records]

75. Best Classical Vocal Solo

Diva Divo. Joyce DiDonato (Kazushi Ono; Orchestre De L’Opéra National De Lyon; Choeur De L’Opéra National De Lyon) [Virgin Classics]

Grieg/Thommessen: Veslemøy Synsk. Marianne Beate Kielland (Nils Anders Mortensen) [2L (Lindberg Lyd)]

Handel: Cleopatra. Natalie Dessay (Emmanuelle Haïm; Le Concert D’Astrée) [Virgin Classics]

Purcell: O Solitude. Andreas Scholl (Stefano Montanari; Christophe Dumaux; Accademia Bizantina) [Decca]

Three Baroque Tenors. Ian Bostridge (Bernard Labadie; Mark Bennett, Andrew Clarke, Sophie Daneman, Alberto Grazzi, Jonathan Gunthorpe, Benjamin Hulett & Madeline Shaw; The English Concert) [EMI Classics]

76. Best Contemporary Classical Composition

Aldridge, Robert: Elmer Gantry. Robert Aldridge & Herschel Garfein [Naxos]

Crumb, George: The Ghosts Of Alhambra. George Crumb. Track from: Complete Crumb Edition, Vol. 15 [Bridge Records, Inc.]

Friedman, Jefferson: String Quartet No. 3. Jefferson Friedman. Track from: Jefferson Friedman: Quartets. [New Amsterdam Records]

Mackey, Steven: Lonely Motel – Music From Slide. Steven Mackey [Cedille Records]

Ruders, Poul: Piano Concerto No. 2. Poul Ruders. Track from: Music Of Poul Ruders, Vol. 6. [Bridge Records, Inc.]

Posted in Classical music


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