Saturday, January 30, 2010

Classical Music Categories - 52nd Annual Grammy Awards Predictions and Picks

Oh yes... sometimes one album dominates everything across the board in classical music, to where other years is a mixed bag... I see a lot of multiple wins for a multiple recordings this year. This entry will cover the Classical Music categories for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. See the Grammy Awards Live on CBS Sunday, January 31st at 8pm EST. For full interactive coverage visit

Best Classical Album

My Prediction & Pick:

Mahler: Symphony No. 8; Adagio From Symphony No. 10
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Ragnar Bohlin, Kevin Fox & Susan McMane, choir directors; Andreas Neubronner, producer;
Peter Laenger, engineer/mixer; Andreas Neubronner, mastering engineer (Laura Claycomb, Anthony Dean Griffey, Katarina Karnéus, Quinn Kelsey, James Morris, Yvonne Naef, Elza van den Heever & Erin Wall; San Francisco Symphony; Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Girls Chorus & San Francisco Symphony Chorus)
[SFS Media]

Tough category, but San Fransisco's Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas have swept in past years. That may hurt or help - either way - Dynamic and breathtaking music.

Best Orchestral Performance

My Prediction & Pick:

Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloé
James Levine, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra; Tanglewood Festival Chorus)
[BSO Classics]

Levine has been around forever, with another solid piece...the Classical music categories are harder to breakthrough than the others and Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony aren't in this category. It's Levine's best chance I think.

Best Opera Recording

My Prediction & Pick:

Shostakovich: The Nose
Valery Gergiev, conductor; Andrei Popov, Sergei Semishkur & Vladislav Sulimsky; James Mallinson, producer (Orchestra Of The Mariinsky Theatre; Chorus Of The Mariinsky Theatre)

If I were a betting man...this is the only one of the bunch nominated in the Best Classical Album category and this recording has many mentions throughout the Grammy ballot this year. It may be it's chance to get the gold...and I think it will.

Best Choral Performance

My Prediction & Pick:

Mahler: Symphony No. 8; Adagio From Symphony No. 10
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Ragnar Bohlin, Kevin Fox & Susan McMane, choir directors
(Laura Claycomb, Anthony Dean Griffey, Elza van den Heever, Katarina Karnéus, Quinn Kelsey, James Morris, Yvonne Naef & Erin Wall; San Francisco Symphony; Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Symphony Chorus & San Francisco Girls Chorus)
[SFS Media]

Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (With Orchestra)

Bartók: 3 Concertos
Pierre Boulez, conductor (Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, Neil Percy, Tamara Stefanovich & Nigel Thomas; Berliner Philharmoniker & London Symphony Orchestra)
[Deutsche Grammophon]

Boulez is another well-deserved Grammy favorite year after year...after year... after year.

Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (Without Orchestra)

My Prediction & Pick:

Journey To The New World
Sharon Isbin (Joan Baez & Mark O'Connor)
[Sony Classical]

Best Chamber Music Performance

My Prediction:

Intimate Letters
Emerson String Quartet
[Deutsche Grammophon]

Tighter category than when I first thought, but again Grammy is familiar with the them a very good edge.

My Pick:

Schumann/Bartók: The Berlin Recital
Martha Argerich & Gidon Kremer
[EMI Classics]

I loved the dramatic feel of this work...

Best Small Ensemble Performance

My Prediction & Pick:

Vivaldi: Concertos
Daniel Hope & Anne Sofie von Otter; Chamber Orchestra Of Europe (Kristian Bezuidenhout)
[Deutsche Grammophon]

Best Classical Vocal Performance

My Prediction:

Anne Sofie von Otter (Lars Ulrik Mortensen; Anders J. Dahlin, Jakob Bloch Jespersen, Tomas Medici & Karin Roman; Concerto Copenhagen)
[Deutsche Grammophon]

My Pick:

Verismo Arias
Renée Fleming (Marco Armiliato; Jonas Kaufmann; Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano Giuseppi Verdi; Coro Sinfonica Di Milano Giuseppi Verdi)

Poor Juan Diego Flórez - this is a battle of the divas and this poor soul is the only guy in the field. He may come up the crowned prince and while I love Renee Fleming, Anne Sofie von Otter (pictured) appears on multiple Grammy nominated albums this year. I think that gives her a one-or-two upper on the others.

Best Classical Contemporary Composition

My Prediction & Pick:

Higdon, Jennifer: Percussion Concerto
Jennifer Higdon (Marin Alsop)
Track from: Alsop Conducts MacMillan, Ad
[London Philharmonic Orchestra]

Best Classical Crossover Album

My Prediction & Pick:

The Melody Of Rhythm
Leonard Slatkin, conductor; Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer (Detroit Symphony Orchestra)
[E1 Music]


Yo-Yo Ma & Friends: Songs Of Joy And Peace
Yo-Yo Ma
(Odair Assad, Sergio Assad, Chris Botti, Dave Brubeck, Matt Brubeck, John Clayton, Paquito d'Rivera, Renée Fleming, Diana Krall, Alison Krauss, Natalie McMaster, Edgar Meyer, Cristina Pato, Joshua Redman, Jake Shimabukuro, Silk Road Ensemble, James Taylor, Chris Thile, Wu Tong, Alon Yavnai & Amelia Zirin-Brown)
[Sony Classical]

OK! OK! I picked two for both. Crap! I don't know...this is tough... It will be either, but would also be a damn good tie! :>))