Although sadly a rare visitor to the theatre, Culture Capital was at the New London Theatre last night to finally see the heartbreaking and astounding Warhorse. The folk music that is wound into the show’s fabric goes a long way to giving it the depth of pathos it acheives and one of the melodies has been ringing in my ears these last 24 hours. The lyrics too, especially the lines “See me arise, the gleam in her eyes / And the year turns round again / And like barley corn who rose from the ground / New Year will rise up again.”
Bucolic early twentieth century English country life may be a long distant memory now, but even in the heart of an urban sprawl in a globalised age, we still live our lives to the rhythm of re-assuring, annual cycle. For the classical music world (and extending this metaphor a mite too far), the BBC Proms represents the harvest before the evenings draw in and we settle down to the run-up to Christmas and the long winter (perish the thought). Where in this agri-cultural caldendar does the Gramophone Awards fit in? I have no idea, but it is fast approaching, with the awards ceremony taking place on October 1st.
The recorded music industry may be swaying on its knees, but as long as classical music has a small (in mass-market terms anyway) but loyal following, the Gramophone Awards will be celebrating high achievements on disc. Scanning the categories for the 2010 nominations, there were a few stand-out records that are worth a particular mention.
Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra feature twice, and with records that have a good chance of taking a prize. Firstly, in the opera section, is the sumptuous recording of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. Next up is the Elgar Violin Concerto with Austrian violinist Thomas Zehetmair in the concerto category. Both discs are on the orchestra’s own label, causing much satisfaction in Manchester no doubt. Good luck to them.
Another likely winner, in the orchestral section, is the late Sir Charles Mackerras, whose sadly final instalment of the Mozart symphonies (Nos 29, 31, 32, 35 & 36) with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra was as excellent as we had come to expect.
Finally, as well as the individual disc awards, there will of course be the Recording of the Year title and Special Awards winners, including Artist of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Special Achievement, Editor’s Choice and Young Artist of the Year. The big one, the Artist of the Year award, is always keenly gossiped about in advance. This year a certain young Canadian conductor has been mentioned but we will have to see on the first.
Click here to see the full list of nominees.