Monday, February 29, 2016

Microcosms: A Brief Introduction to the World of György Kurtág

György Kurtág
(Originally written as part of a series about a recital by Ensemble Epomeo with Market Square Concerts for February 28th, 2016, which also included works by Leo Weiner and somebody named Beethoven - you can read these other posts here and here - I wanted to repost it here in light of the recent celebration of Kurtág's 90th birthday.)

György Kurtág celebrated his 90th birthday a week ago, February 19th. He is recognized as one of the leading composers of the 20th Century still composing into the 21st, though, like many such composers, more “heard of” than “heard.”

To him, music is a language with its own syntax and texts. And much of his music springs from words - he has written a great deal of vocal music setting words (if not poems) by Kafka, Samuel Beckett or Anna Akhmatova among others. Even pieces without words imply their origins in words.

The string trio Ensemble Epomeo performed excerpts from “Signs, Games, and Messages” at their Market Square Concerts program (which, speaking of words, included Nicholas Hughes reading an unrelated poem written specifically for Epomeo, brief segments intruding between the musical selections) – but Kurtág has been writing piano pieces called “Games” since 1973 and “Signs, Games, and Messages” since 1984, beginning (as far as I can tell) with several for solo clarinet. They exist in various groupings, in various combinations for solo instruments and small ensembles, in various arrangements as well. They are often each given “descriptive titles” but more in the sense of “A Flower for Tabea” for solo viola written for violist Tabea Zimerman rather than describing, perhaps, the physical flower of the title; or a “Tribute to...” someone in particular whose name we may not recognize but in which the audience is not likely to imagine – thinking of Elgar's enigma – a musical portrait. They might be or might only have originated in the composer's mind as an actual portrait but they are none the less personal statements for our lack of familiarity.

The set of pieces written for string trio were written between 1989 and 2005.

The repeated use of the title brings to mind another collection of another, earlier and more famous Hungarian composer, Bela Bartók, who wrote 153 pieces collected into six volumes of Mikrokosmos. These, however, began as teaching pieces when Bartók, an acclaimed piano teacher in Budapest, began giving his youngest son, Peter, piano lessons in 1926. They move progressively in difficulty (hopefully) with the ability of the pianist to master them, small etudes (often with picturesque titles and subjects that might interest a young imagination) geared to not only develop the fingers but open the ears. (Peter talked of going into a lesson to find his father jotting down some ideas which the boy would then sight-read – imagine having your father, a famous composer, writing something especially for you, and you're playing it hot-off-the-press, not only the first person to play it but also hear it? But then, as he thought, doesn't every boy's father do that?)

Though Kurtág's “Games” also began as teaching pieces, they quickly outgrew the pedagogical element, except in the sense listening to any piece of music can teach us something – if not about the composer or the time the music was created in, perhaps about ourselves.

György and Marta Kurtág, piano-duet: London Dec. 2013
The first thing I would say to someone about to hear Kurtág for the first time is to allow yourself to enter into Kurtág's sound-world. He writes what might be called miniatures – but not the way Schumann created his “character pieces,” suites of short descriptive movements that make up works like Carnaval or “Scenes from Childhood.” They're more like “fragments,” wisps of sound and, even within their brief time-frames, a bit kaleidoscopic.

Hearing several of these pieces is to hear “collisions” of sounds rather than a progression of little dramatic moments, like Schumann's suites. It is like looking first at one drop of water through a microscope and then, from some other source, another and noticing how, while they're both “drops of water,” they are completely separate worlds.

The second thing I would say would be not to get hung up on the titles or where in the list of titles you might be (is this the third or the fourth piece on this list?). As I said, often, the titles are merely ways of identifying one piece from another (while they may have personal meaning for the composer, it's quite possible a listener could manage quite well if they were “Sign VII,” “Game XVI,” or “Message III.” That, however, I suspect might remove one layer of magic, so I wouldn't recommend it.

Some of the “Games” have a collective subtitle of Diary Entries and Personal Messages (speaking of music having its origins in texts) which might give you a better concept of music as a personal statement and of the intimacy of the music itself.

The third thing, which I say to anyone listening to any musical style that is unfamiliar, is not to worry about its unfamiliarity, not to compare it to something you do know, not to focus on things perhaps, on the surface, you may not like, whether it's the “lack of harmonic motion in tonal music,” the “lack of something I can hum,” or “the lack of comfort in a style that makes no sense to me.” It's like saying “How can this make any sense” when you're listening to somebody speak, say, Hungarian, because it's not English or some other language you're familiar with, whether you also speak fluent German or can get by with High-School French.

Kurtág, like any composer, creates his own world. This world comes into being through the consistency and integrity of its details: it is a colorful world, even for a single instrument, that creates a variety of contrasts through the same means a 19th Century composer might, but with a different “surface.” You might feel different moods – calm, agitated, hypnotic, unsettling, comforting – which are not unlike moods we could hear in Schumann's picturesque pieces or Bach's more abstract preludes and fugues (whether that was the composer's intention or not).

There may be moments of “tension” that resolve to something of a resolution – or maybe only of “less tension” or, given the philosophical implications of the world we live in, no resolution at all. You may not be able to tap your foot to Kurtág's music, but you may feel the flow of a universal pulse even if only for a moment before it is interrupted by a pause – silence is a very important part of his sound. You may not notice that this pause is only a pause where that pause is the end of this piece (or does it only mean the piece stops?).

And he enjoys the contrasts of styles and languages: many of his concerts and some recordings of his works interweave his pieces in between those of another composer – one obvious choice was his “Hommage à Robert Schumann” and works by Schumann himself. Below, I include a video of he and his wife, Marta, performing his music for one and two pianists with his transcriptions of Bach for piano duet. The effect can be mesmerizing, reminding us that music is something to experience, not just to hear.

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Looking for videos on You-Tube to include here, there are many things to choose from which may or may not work. For instance, I found Kurtág's music challenging to “get into” when I first heard them because there's always this sense that music has become so much a part of our environment (and I say this having “played” music on the radio for 18 years), we feel we can use it while we do something else. A live performance is better than listening to a recording where we might be tempted to be distracted. And very often one short piece is not likely to give you much more than one short expanse of time filled with sound. The world is so much more than that – as is Kurtág's music.

Given that, here is one of the pieces from “Signs, Games, and Messages” for string trio, performed at a Dutch summer music festival (and from an angle I'm sure not cellist-approved, speaking of distractions). But the sound and mood it creates might give you an idea what to expect:

Not all of Kurtág's music is so delicate – or even for small ensembles. One of his first works to bring his name to a wider public was the orchestra work Stele in 1994. In an interview in The Guardian in 2013, Tom Service writes how it is...

“filled with a strange luminescence: the reverberating chordal repetitions in the final movement sound like the tolling of funeral bells (or perhaps the breathing of alien life forms). The first movement is an adagio, an implacable lament that ends with a homage to Bruckner in a passage for four Wagner tubas. But the second movement has the most scintillating moment of all. In the middle of the music's desperate violence, there is a sudden image of strange stillness, a sound made by six flutes, a tuba, and a piano. Kurtág said he wanted the effect to be like "the scene in Tolstoy's War and Peace where Prince Andrei is wounded at Austerlitz for the first time: all of a sudden, he no longer hears the battle but discovers the blue sky above him. That is what the music conjures up." He continues, lamenting that, "I keep telling this story and no one responds." But they do, György! If you are open to it, the devastating poetry of Stele can sear itself on your soul.”

(Incidentally, if you have time, I recommend reading this entire article which you can find here.)

Elsewhere in this article, Service writes about this contrast of sound, the meditation that becomes the experience of such a fragment:

“Despite their brevity, these tiny pieces are not incomplete as experiences. Take, for example, the seven notes of 'Flowers We Are, Mere Flowers… (…embracing sounds)' – whose title takes almost as long to read as the piece does to hear – part of the 8th book of Jatekok [“Games”]. (You hear it from 4'10'' into the Kurtágs' performance [posted below].) Kurtág precedes the piece with a prelude of nine tolling B flats; the seven notes of 'Flowers We Are…' follow. What you hear are the notes of the C major scale turned into a meditation for four hands. There is nothing more familiar than these elements, but nothing stranger than what happens to them throughout this performance. Paradoxically, precisely because of its conciseness, the piece becomes static and timeless; and those notes, far from meaning anything like "C major" or "tonality" are unmoored from conventional function and allowed to resound and shimmer in a much larger musical space. Hearing 'Flowers We Are…' is like opening a trapdoor in your floor and dropping for a moment into the infinity of the cosmos.”

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Though his first published work was a string quartet composed in 1959 when he was 33, he began his official studies in 1946 in Budapest at the school where Bartók, Kodály and Dohnányi had taught (by this time, Bartók had left the country and died in the United States), graduating in piano and chamber music, then earning a degree in composition in 1955. While the names of those he studied with may not bring nods of recognition to many Americans – Sandor Veress, Ferenc Farkas – he did study chamber music with Leo Weiner (another composer on this program).

More unsettling history engulfed Hungary in the years of the Communist regime following World War II, and after the 1956 Revolution, 18 bloody days that began as a student demonstration resulting in 3,000 deaths, Kurtág went to Paris where he studied with Messiaen and Milhaud. But he was also suffering from depression: he later wrote, “I realized to the point of despair that nothing I had believed to constitute the world was true...” and how his therapy sessions revived him personally and creatively. When he returned to Budapest in 1958, he began his 1st String Quartet which he dedicated to his therapist.

He remained in Budapest until his retirement from teaching piano and chamber music, taking over the classes offered by Weiner until his death in 1960, though since then, aside from being a composer-in-residence with the Berlin Philharmonic and in Vienna, he has spent more time living abroad, since 2002, living outside Bordeaux, France. And he has written a great deal of music which, despite his own unwillingness to self-promote, has established him as one of the leading composers of his time.

It is impossible not to mention two people Kurtág met while he was in school after the 2nd World War. One was the fellow composer György Ligéti (again, like most Hungarian words, the accents are on the first syllable) who would become perhaps the best known Hungarian composer of the late-20th Century, best known for his extroverted works ranging from his opera, Le grande macabre and orchestral canvases (speaking of color) like Lontano, Atmospheres and the Requiem which gained audience awareness through their use in Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001: A Space Odyssey – or his wildly virtuosic piano etudes. Both Kurtág and Ligéti were born in what is now Romania that was still in the 1920s part of Hungary, but Ligéti would leave Hungary and its Communist government for Vienna in 1956, spending much of his life teaching in Hamburg, (West) Germany. He died in Vienna in 2006 at the age of 83.

The other important person he met in school became his wife, Marta, who has been his collaborator in their piano-duet team ever since and who is his first “spring-board” and critic with every new piece of music he writes. They have been married for 68 years, now, and still perform piano duets.

I would not say “don't listen to the whole thing,” but certainly listen to some of this amazing video as the Kurtágs play selections of his “Games” in and around his arrangements of works by Johann Sebastian Bach. This concert was recorded in Paris in 2012 and is one instance where I would say definitely do watch the performers!

After that, what is left to say?

Dick Strawser

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Harrisburg Symphony: "You Made Me Want to Get Up and Dance"

- A special report by Dick Strawser for Thoughts on a Train

That's how one enthusiastic listener put it at the end of the Harrisburg Symphony's concert last night, with three pieces on the program which had lots of dance music in them: Stravinsky's ballet Petrushka, the “Spanish Rhapsody” of Ravel and the Suite from Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier which included some waltzes worthy of a different Strauss from an earlier generation.

(Normally, I don't write reviews and I don't like writing them, though lots of people tell me I should. In fact, as a musician on the receiving end, I never liked reading them, either. But since the Patriot-News no longer publishes reviews and the Carlisle Sentinel no longer has a Sunday edition to publish one in, consider this in lieu of a review. But here, I'm not limited to 500 words or less: my apologies in advance.)

The Harrisburg Symphony & Stuart Malina on the Forum stage (photo: Curt Rohrer)
To reduce the concert to one word – “Spectacular!” “Brilliant!” or maybe “Colorful!” – is to miss the point. The program is varied, despite all three pieces being completed within a three-year period, and within that, each piece is so varied itself, one word cannot possibly describe everything you would have noticed or sensed, even if you say you know nothing about “classical music” or if you were just letting the music “sweep” over you.

Stuart Malina conducted the orchestra in a program that didn't feature a soloist, someone standing out in front to perform a concerto, someone paid “the big bucks” to draw in the audience. These days, of course, few orchestras can afford to bring in the kind of virtuoso soloist that attracted throngs of music-lovers in the past. Unfortunately, this attitude tends to create a let-down feeling when people see no name, familiar or otherwise, at the top of the program.

But as Stuart (and let's face it, most of Harrisburg is on a first-name basis with the conductor of our orchestra who seems the very opposite of the old-fashioned, unapproachable “Maestro”) always points out, when given the chance, this town is lucky to have an orchestra of this caliber with players who are, every one, a soloist in their own right.

And as Truman Bullard pointed out in his illustrated pre-concert talk – a regular feature of the Masterworks Concerts, beginning an hour before each performance – each piece on the program is a kind of “Concerto for Orchestra,” where individual players get a spotlight here and there, some brief, some a little more extended, to create a tapestry of virtuosity that shows the true mettle of a fine ensemble.

One very helpful detail, especially for those not familiar with Stravinsky's ballet – anyone who's seen in continues to “see” it in their minds, the music is so theatrical – were the “super-titles” projected above the orchestra, a wonderful idea letting you know what was happening in the story with the music you're hearing. Though waiting another beat for “The End” might have been better since the final, quiet, unobtrusive note that ends the music was overshadowed by chuckles from the audience.

(You can see a video of the ballet with the original sets, costumes and choreography, in this blog-post about Petrushka, here.)

There's one more performance of this program – today, Sunday afternoon at 3:00 at the Forum, with Truman Bullard's pre-concert talk starting at 2:00. Tickets will be available at the door.

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“Colorful” is one of those adjectives you might use to describe these pieces which were all written when composers were becoming more aware of the orchestra as an artist's palette from which to choose their sounds, that skill we call “orchestration.”

But with “Colorful” comes the subtle shades we hear in those sounds – dynamics (loud and soft), texture (density or lightness) and all the various nuances that a player can bring to an instrument.

Take the trumpet which can play brilliant flashy passages or skittish bursts that might color an expression like a blush or a chuckle would color a face, perhaps the Ballerina's in Petrushka. Or a long, romantic theme of quiet passion (I'm thinking of the Strauss, here) to something so subtle (the Ravel “Spanish Rhapsody,” especially) you're not even aware it's a trumpet, the way the moonlight adds a glow to the air on what would otherwise be a scene at night.

Or the way Stravinsky, in his scene between the fearsome Moor and the dainty Ballerina, shows you how these two different characters dance first separately, then together: the Ballerina's theme is a doll-like tune lightly shared between the trumpet and the flute; the Moor's, a sinewy even slithery line (hardly a melody) in the lower, darker register of the English horn (that alto oboe) with exotic percussion accompaniment. That they even sound like they're in different tempos when combined allows us to focus on the overall effect of that sound. And the impact is only possible when they're played with the same conviction of a musician who stands up front and who has dedicated the time and integrity to “practice, practice, practice” whether or not they ever get close to Carnegie Hall, a classical musician's stereotypical nirvana.

There are so many of these instances through each of these works, a cameraman would be kept busy for a televised broadcast or (God forbid) a voice-over narrator, acknowledging each soloist the way sportscasters do at a football game, would be out-of-breath by half-time.

(Some people complain about the rigid formality of the orchestra's tuxedos and black gowns: what about HSO jerseys with numbers to identify the players, hmm? During the talk-back, a regular occurrence at the conclusion of each performance, Stuart and principal trumpeter Phil Snedecor joked about close-up cameras on the jumbotron so the audience could see the musicians during their solos – no, before their solos, so we can see beads of sweat in anticipation of their Big Moment. But I digress...)

If anyone is an acknowledged soloist within the orchestra for Petrushka, it's the pianist. This is a dazzling and at the same time gruesomely technical part which requires the musician to step into the virtuosic sphere alone just like a concerto even if for only a few moments. Or here to add a swirl of notes like the reflection of light glistening off a mirror that we might only notice if it draws attention to itself.

The Soul of Petrushka (or Pétrouchka, if you prefer the French) was danced by our regular “keyboardist,” Terry Klinefelter who's played it once before with the orchestra and Malina several seasons ago. It's not a role she would get to play often in her career but it's a part she will be thinking about a lot between the time the repertoire is announced and the concert is finally in the past no matter how many more times she gets to play it in the future. To say she handled the part “splendidly” is to use one of those “one-word-only” comments, but she made Petrushka, the sad-sack-of-sawdust at the heart of this ballet, cry, laugh, scream but above all, dance.

The Ballerina was “danced” by Phil Snedecor who's played the big solo so many times between auditions, performances and in his role as a teacher, it's a challenge to find something fresh each time it comes up. Technically difficult, it's enough to play without being plastered all over the jumbotron, but then Stravinsky plays the ultimate dirty trick: it's just one trumpet player accompanied by a snare-drum, nobody else. Who needs a camera?

The same thing goes for the Role of the Old Magician (or Charlatan) who is the puppetmaster, danced in this case by principal flutist David DiGiacobbe during the tumultuous first scene at the Fair when the crowd parts and we hear just the flute playing a mysteriously halting cascade, back and forth, seductively drawing the audience's attention to the puppets he is about to bring to life. Again, no need for nerves here, right?

And Malina was enough of a musician (rather than The Maestro) to stand back and let his players play it themselves: he has enough faith in them to get out of their way which, in turn, gives them even more confidence.

But there are so many names to spotlight – like Jill Hoffman playing the English horn not only in the Moor's Dance but other prominent flashes of sound here and there in Petrushka or spinning out long-limbed melodies on the second half of the program, especially in the Ravel.

Or Eric Henry playing the tuba's too brief moment of glory as the Dancing Bear who struts his stuff in the final scene of Petrushka, quick entrance, quick exit. (He'll have more work to do in the April concert when he premieres a concerto written for him by Brian Sadler, a full out-front, in-your-face soloist.)

Without a pen to jot down specifics, I remember sitting there, thinking how well some soloists-within-the-orchestra blend in without your noticing their passing moments (though you would, if they're not well played). Like the principal oboist Jeffrey O'Donnell (busy throughout the concert with some wonderful moments, solo and otherwise) or principal clarinetist Janine Thomas (I remember one specific turn-of-phrase during Petrushka's aching death-scene, felled by the Moor right in front of us, only a few notes at this one spot but where a sudden, subtle drop in dynamics before handing off the phrase was like watching a tear form) and principal bassoonist Darryl Hartshorne (again, many often brief moments that could be overlooked by the average listener taking in the “full orchestra”), even contrabassoonist Richard Spittel who got to play those single (and singular) dyspeptic low notes, surrounded by cautious silences, associated with the Old Magician.

And pairs – especially in Petrushka! Janine Thomas and Linda Farrell have been playing 1st and 2nd Clarinet in this orchestra since I first heard them in 1980 and they make a perfect match, friends who could finish each other's sentences. Whether playing crowd-noise whooshes or that unsettling “Petrushka Chord,” it always sounded like one player. And the same for Snedecor and 2nd trumpet Scott Sabo with similar passages, whether shared or alternating. Comparable moments, especially in the Ravel, bring the pair of bassoonists, Hartshorne and Leann Currie, to mind as well.

And, good grief, who could forget the entire horn section, tearing it up in the opening of Der Rosenkavalier and getting everything off to a rousing start?!

And behind all this, other players not so highlighted (even briefly) whose playing makes you forget what a solid support they create in turning almost 90 players into a cohesive brilliant whole, making these very difficult string parts and wind and percussion ensembles seem like something you do every day.

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The whole program is a challenge, musically and technically, and putting something like this together in three rehearsals and a dress rehearsal the morning of the concert may explain why at times there was maybe too much caution here, a little too much “edge” there, players wishing there'd been a little more time for things to settle. But perhaps all that works to the good – Sunday's performance could be looser, musicians willing to take more of a risk. Or could playing it too often lead to complacency, to the kind of thinking that sneaks up and hits you along side of the head? That happens easily enough.

As an occasional performer years ago myself, I know the last thing you want to tell yourself in the middle of a concert is “so, this is going well...”

In the talk-back, pianist Terry Klinefelter admitted she had been so focused on her knuckle-buster part in Petrushka that she'd left the music for the second half of the concert, the celeste parts for the Ravel and the Strauss, back at the hotel. Trying to calculate if she'd have time to drive back and retrieve them during the intermission, here she was, in the midst of playing the most difficult part a keyboard player has to face in an orchestra, worrying about “now what?!” Malina looked at her and said, “Oh, and here I thought you were just really getting into Petrushka's angst!” To solve the problem, one of those back-stage crises the audience would be unaware of – the graceful swan versus the swan's feet, paddling like mad – someone found the Ravel's part on-line and printed it off. For the Strauss, she borrowed associate conductor Greg Woodbridge's score and played from that (so even if he didn't have to substitute for Stuart in case of an emergency, at least his score got to appear on stage).

Something others would have noticed was that moment – that moment – in the Rosenkavalier, building up to the huuuuge climax that is the opera's emotional high-point, when Stuart, turning to the first violins with a larger-than-usual gesture to “SING IT!”, inadvertently knocked over the concertmaster's stand, sending music (and his baton) to the floor. Fortunately, the page of music that fluttered to the opposite side of the conductor's podium was one they'd already played (not that anybody else knew that at the moment) and Peter Sirotin's stand-partner, Dayna Hepler, retrieved the baton. Malina, without dropping the beat, managed to keep the violinists' stand upright and readjust it, all the while Sirotin continued playing as if nothing ever happened (however wide his eyes may have been).

If you had your eyes closed, out in the audience, you might never have noticed a thing: everybody kept going smoothly. The impact of that huuuge harmonic resolution might have been a little understated a moment later, but at least they didn't have to stop (another of those “wow, what if...” moments).

And frankly, that also speaks volumes to this orchestra's ability to form “one-out-of-many.”

As Stuart acknowledged after the concert, “you know, ten years from now, I may not remember this concert but I know I'll be talking about that moment... jeez!”

Monday, February 15, 2016

The 2016 Grammy Winners, Classical Music Division

The winners of the Classical Music Grammy Awards for 2016, assuming they haven't been announced by Steve Harvey, are:

74. Best Orchestral Performance

Shostakovich: Under Stalin's Shadow - Symphony No. 10 – Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra) Deutsche Grammophon

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75. Best Opera Recording

Ravel: L'Enfant et les Sortilèges; Shéhérazade – Seiji Ozawa, conductor; Isabel Leonard; Dominic Fyfe, producer (Saito Kinen Orchestra; SKF Matsumoto Chorus & SKF Matsumoto Children's Chorus) Decca

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76. Best Choral Performance
 Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil – Charles Bruffy, conductor (Paul Davidson, Frank Fleschner, Toby Vaughn Kidd, Bryan Pinkall, Julia Scozzafava, Bryan Taylor & Joseph Warner; Kansas City Chorale & Phoenix Chorale) Chandos

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77. Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

Filament – Eighth Blackbird; Cedille Records

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78. Best Classical Instrumental Solo
Dutilleux: Violin Concerto, L'Arbre des Songes – Augustin Hadelich; Ludovic Morlot, conductor (Seattle Symphony) Track from Dutilleux: Métaboles; L'Arbre des Songes; Symphony No. 2, 'Le Double'; Seattle Symphony Media

(Hadelich appeared as soloist with the Harrisburg Symphony on three separate occasions. Read more about this award-winner and hear the recording of the Dutilleux, here.)

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79. Best Classical Solo Vocal Album

Joyce & Tony - Live From Wigmore Hall – Joyce DiDonato; Antonio Pappano, accompanist [sic]; Erato

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80. Best Classical Compendium

Paulus: Three Places of Enlightenment; Veil of Tears & Grand Concerto – Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer; Naxos

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81. Best Contemporary Classical Composition

Paulus: Prayers & Remembrances – Stephen Paulus, composer (Eric Holtan, True Concord Voices & Orchestra) Track from Paulus: Far In The Heavens; Reference Recordings

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72. Best Engineered Album, Classical

Ask Your Mama - Leslie Ann Jones, John Kilgore, Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum & Justin Merrill, engineers; Patricia Sullivan, mastering engineer (George Manahan & San Francisco Ballet Orchestra) Avie Records

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73. Producer Of The Year, Classical

Judith Sherman – Ask Your Mama (George Manahan & San Francisco Ballet Orchestra); Fields: Double Cluster; Space Sciences (Jan Kučera, Gloria Chuang & Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra); Liaisons - Re-Imagining Sondheim From The Piano (Anthony de Mare); Montage - Great Film Composers & The Piano (Gloria Cheng); Multitude, Solitude (Momenta Quartet); Of Color Braided All Desire - Music Of Eric Moe (Christine Brandes, Brentano String Quartet, Dominic Donato, Jessica Meyer, Karen Ouzounian, Manhattan String Quartet & Talujon); Rzewski: The People United Will Never Be Defeated! (Ursula Oppens); Sirota: Parting The Veil - Works For Violin & Piano (David Friend, Hyeyung Julie Yoon, Laurie Carney & Soyeon Kate Lee); Turina: Chamber Music For Strings & Piano (Lincoln Trio)

Congratulations to all those nominated this year for their Grammy Awards and especially to those who won their category.

- Dick Strawser