2017 Gramophone Awards
Overall, this year I was suprised how very few of the recordings I actually knew.
Therefore, this year I’ll only do two overall post on this, unlike the posts per category I did in recent years.
Bach: Orchestral Suites: Zefiro
I very much liked this recording, giving it 4 stars here. Is it good enough for album of the year? Well, maybe.
Bach: Goldberg Variations – Mahan Esfahani
I was never as enthousiastic about this album as was Gramophone, my rating in my review was a lukewarm 3 stars. So definitely not my album of the year.
I haven’t heard any of the other albums, with some Telemann and Vivaldi, but will check in and maybe report back later.
Hyperion doesn’t stream, so I cannot comment about Cohens/Arcangelos cantata album.
Bach: Matthew Passion – Gardiner
As reviewed here, I fully agree that this is a five star album very much worth having.
I haven’t heard any of the other recommended albums, from Blow (never heard that name before), Couperin, Monteverdi and Scarlatti, but will check them out, as they are by Les Arts Florissants and Christophe Rousset among other, that I really admire.
I haven’t heard any of the first three recommended albums, as they are all 20th century stuff which really isn’t my cup of tea, from Ades, via Bacewicz, Berg, Schönberg, and Webern. I’ll leave this to others.
I´d be interested in trying the Bruch String Quartets as I have very little chamber music from this composer, but Hyperion doesn´t stream so I have no way of risk free trying.
Then there are two Schubert albums. Quatuors 12 and 15 by the Doric Quartet. I have only heard it once on the radio (again, also Chandos doesn´t stream), and liked it, but wasn´t blown away. Not interesting enough for me to spend money blindly on it.
Finally, there is the Death and the Maiden and a quartet by Sibelius by the Ehnes Quartet. Unfortunately, Onyx is another label that doesn´t stream.
So basically, there´s unfortunately not a lot I can contribute to this category, which I usually love.
Several albums in here that are just not my cup of tea, eg. Berkeley or Elgar. Even Haydn´s Season, here with Paul McCreesh, is not a piece of music I´m particularly passionate about. Better to shut up then.
I´m more curious about the Cherubini album by Hervé Niquet, I´ll check that one out later today.
There have been a number of recent recordings of Rachmaninov´s All-Night Vigil, and I´m also very interested by this latest recording of John Scott. I will report back on this one as well.
And then there is my highlight of the year:
Mozart: C-minor Mass – Mazaki Suzuki
Truly a new reference, see also my review here
Let me maybe start by the one recording I can really recommend in here:
Mozart: Violin Concertos – Isabelle Faust
I gave it a four star rating, as I don´t consider Mozart´s violin concertos to be essential, but the playing is truly five star.
I´m not a very huge fan of Lisa Batiashvili´s Sibelius and Tchaikovsky album, but this is more due to Barenboim, not Batiashvili´s fault. Augustin Hadelich Tchaikovsky is straightforward, but also not that much my cup of tea.
I will certainly check out Alexandre Tharaud´s Rachmaninov album and report back.
I can´t comment on the albums by Adams and Beach.
I´ll skip the contemporary and early categories, as I don´t feel qualified enough here.
Bach: French Suites – Murray Perahia
Yes, absolutely, great album. A must have. See also here
Bach: Goldberg Variations: Beatrice Rana
I´ve now played this album many times, and still haven´t fully made up my mind. I kind of like it, but it´s really not my personal reference.
I´d like to comment about Cedric Tiberghien´s Bartok album and Pavel Koselnikov´s Chopin Mazurkas, but due to Hyperion´s no streaming policy I can´t. Side note: I really understand why labels don´t want to support streaming, as the business model is not very attractive, but on the other hand it really limits discovery. Maybe labels should invent a streaming model where you can listen to an album only 2-3 times and then need to purchase it. I find that album´s I can´t test I often don´t buy.
Liszt: Transcendental Etudes: Daniel Trifonov (Deutsche Grammophon)
I haven´t reviewed this album yet, but have listened to it many times. And yes, it is very good, justifying the Artist of the Year he received last year.
Mozart/Schumann: Fantaisies – Piotr Anderszewski (Warner)
I wasn´t such a big fan of Anderszewski´s Bach album that won 2 years ago, but this one (only one listen so far, so beware) sounds really very good. I´ll report back.