Wednesday 18 September 2013

Memorial for the Columbia Astronauts wins Gramophone's 'Recording of the Year'

The world premiere recording of Peter Eötvös’s violin concerto Seven, subtitled Memorial for the Columbia Astronauts, has won the Recording of the Year at the 2013 Gramophone Classical Music Awards. The disc of concertos by Eötvös,  Ligeti and Bartok played by Moldovan virtuoso violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja with Eötvös himself conducting the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Ensemble Modern, released on the Naive label, was announced as the Recording of the Year at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards ceremony last night (17 September) at LSO St Luke's.

Peter Eötvös’s violin concerto Seven, was composed to commemorate the loss of the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, which caused the death of all seven of its occupants. The concerto is dub-titled Memorial for the Columbia Astronauts, and the work’s cadenzas are dedicated to each dead astronaut by name. The new album on Naive, which also features Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 2  and Ligeti's Violin Concerto, also won the top prize in the Concerto category. In describing Kopatchinskaja’s blistering performance, Gramophone said: “Kopatchinskaja’s violin comes close to disintegrating under the force of her spectacular display.”

Also in the awards, trumpet player Alison Balsom became first British woman to be voted Artist of the Year by international public poll, ·guitarist Julian Bream was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the year of his 80th birthday, Polish-Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki, who is only 18, was Young Artist of the Year (his new Chopin disc has been released on DG) and Decca was Label of the Year.

Alison Balsom rounded off the ceremony at LSO St Luke's with a performance of Henry Purcell’s Fairest Isle (King Arthur) with lutenist Arngeir Hauksson. There were also performances by Young Artist of the Year Jan Lisiecki, last year’s Young Artist the pianist Benjamin Grosvenor (who paid tribute to his label Decca), pianist Steven Osborne (winner of the Instrumental Award), and Chamber Award winner, violinist Barnabás Kelemen. Guitarist Xue-fei Yang was joined by tenor Ian Bostridge for a special tribute to Julian Bream, performing three songs written by Benjamin Britten for Peter Pears and Julian Bream.

Full information about all the awards winners from the Gramophone awards page. iTunes is offering a free sampler featuring Award-winning recordings at

Elsewhere on this blog:

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