DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON HITS RIGHT NOTE AT MIDEM CLASSICAL AWARDS
German music major Deutsche Grammophon (DG) picked up three prizes at the inaugural MIDEM Classical Awards in Cannes, January 24. Top prizes also went to Belgian counter-tenor and conductor René Jacobs and Welsh pianist Llyr Williams. The awards were presented for the first time at MIDEM, the World's Music Market (Cannes, France, January 23-27, 2005).
Heading Deutsche Grammophon's trio of wins was Bach's Cantatas 56, 158 and 82, featuring Thomas Quasthoff, accompanied by members of the RIAS chamber choir, the Berliner Barocksolisten orchestra and conducted by Rainer Kussmaul, which took 'Best Vocal' award.
DG had further success with Rachmaninov's Piano Concertos # 1 and 2, which won 'Best Orchestra Works.' Featuring Krystian Zimerman on piano, the concertos were conducted by Seiji Ozawa and accompanied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The 'Best Chamber Music' award was tied for, as the international jury found itself unable to separate two German nominations. Independent ECM's Beethoven : Complete Music for Piano and Violoncello, starring pianist Andras Schiff and Miklos Perényi on violoncello, shared the award with DG's Prokofiev : Cinderella Suite and Ravel : Ma Mère l'Oye, featuring pianists Martha Argerich and Mikhail Pletnev.
The MIDEM Classical Awards provided another prize for ECM, as Heinz Holliger's Violin Concerto was voted 'Best Contemporary Music.' Holliger wrote and conducted the work, with Thomas Zehetmair playing violin, accompanied by the SWR Sinfonieorchester.
France's Harmonia Mundi label scored a double success with its release of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. Harmonia received prizes for 'Best Opera' and 'Recording of the Year.' The Harmonia recording was conducted by René Jacobs, who was also named 'Artist of the Year.'
Naïaut;ve, the French classical, jazz and pop label founded by former Virgin France CEO, Patrick Zelnik in 1998, was another double winner at the first MIDEM Classical Awards. 'Best Early Music/Baroque' was handed out to Monteverdi's Vespro Della Beata Vergine da Concerto, with Rinaldo Allessandrini conducting the Concerto Italiano and featuring the singers Invernizzi, Mingardo, di Donato and Spagnoli. 'Best Reissue/Archival/Historical' recording went to another Naïaut;ve offering, Berg's Wozzeck opera, starring Berry, Lorenz, Dickie, Klein, Dönch and Goltz, conducted by Karl Böhm and featuring the Orchestra and Chorus of the Vienna State Opera.
French success at the awards was further enhanced when Alpha Productions was voted 'Label of the Year.'
Independent Spanish label Alia Vox's recording of Hume's Musicall Humors, featuring Jordi Savall on Viola da Gamba, was named 'Best Solo Instrument.'
The MIDEM Classical Awards are designed to pay tribute to classical music in all its forms. The increasing importance of DVD as a medium to appreciate music, was highlighted with a pair of awards for 'Best DVD : Opera/Ballet' and 'Best DVD : Concert/Documentaries.' Luxemburg's TDK picked up the first award for Rameau's Platée opera, with Marc Minkowski conducting the Orchestra and Chorus of Les Musiciens du Louvre - Grenoble.
The concert/documentaries prize went to Jacqueline du Pré in Portrait, co-produced by Britain's Allegro Films and Opus Arte and directed by Christopher Nupen and Hans Petri.
Italian orchestral and opera conductor Claudio Abbado, who first conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in 1966 and whose career includes the musical directorships at La Scala, the Vienna State Opera and the European Union Youth Orchestra, was honoured at the MIDEM Classical Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Completing the list of prize-winners, Welsh pianist Llyr Williams, who burst onto the international scene with his 2003 appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival, was named Outstanding Young Artist' - a prize awarded in partnership with the International Artist Managers' Association.