Winners 2013

Winners 2013


A pianistic legend in his own lifetime, Aldo Ciccolini has been performing all over the world for more than seventy years now. His numerous recordings, some of which offer a generous overview of a composer’s works, have gained ever-increasing critical recognition with the passing decades. At a very advanced age he continues to share his passion for music with audiences and his profound knowledge of the repertoire with his pupils. ICMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2013 honors a great musician and an extraordinary personality.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Carolin Widmann
The German violinist has turned into one of the outstanding – and most uncompromising — musical personalities of our age. Her sensitivity and intelligence as an interpreter enable her to express the deepest emotions in the romantic sonatas by Schumann or Schubert, while at the same time feeding her curiosity for contemporary music and the exploration of experimental sonorities.

With a vocal range and a richness of sound far exceeding the possibilities of most of his colleagues, the countertenor Valer Sabadus has emerged in recent years as a singer of rare personality. In his recordings as well as on stage he displays brilliant artistry and technique: fluency, brightness of tone and a probing musicality.

This young Sicilian pianist Alessandro Mazzamuto is no showy virtuoso, no unyielding technician, but a pianist capable of entering deeply into the music which he plays with a singular combination of spontaneity and poetry. Still very young, he has already mastered the music that lies beyond technique.

For the past forty years Audite has been presenting new and historic recordings to discriminating music-lovers. Even in these difficult times the label has never compromised on quality and continues to issue long forgotten recordings in fine sound, as well as giving a chance to talented performers of today to explore a broad range of repertoire.

CLASSICAL WEBSITE AWARD: Philharmonia Orchestra
The Philharmonia Orchestra embraces wholeheartedly the digital age, with a website that combines ideal clarity of information with lots of in-depth features on the artists involved, the instruments played and the music performed, and now apps for tablets.

Robert von Bahr founded BIS Records in 1973 with the aim of helping world-class Swedish musicians to reach an worldwide audience. Thanks to his extensive knowledge of artists and the repertoire, the focus of the label became rapidly more international. Today the richness of the BIS catalogue, which includes many award-winning discs, is a tribute to the qualities of this exceptional man of music.

Luigi Corbani displayed rare courage and vision in founding laVerdi twenty years ago, and under Riccardo Chailly’s musical direction the Orchestra quickly proved capable of competing with Italy’s finest. The «Verdi Discoveries» CD, issued by Decca ten years ago, features long-neglected orchestral pieces by the composer whose bicentenary we celebrate this year and represents the Orchestra and Chailly at their unsurpassed best.



Amarcord – zu S. Thomas
Zwei Gregorianische Messen aus dem Thomas-Graduale – Thomaskirche Leipzig, um 1300
Amarcord Ensemble
RKap 10112
As a vocal ensemble of worldwide reputation, Amarcord presents a broad spectrum of repertory from Gregorian chant to contemporary pieces. This CD with music from the St. Thomas Boys Choir Library demonstrates the group’s immense artistic potential. Outstanding balance of sound, exquisite tone and admirable authenticity!


Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonatas & Partitas BWV 1001-3 (Vol. II)
Isabelle Faust, violin
Harmonia Mundi HMC 902124
Isabelle Faust’s enthusiasm for these iconic masterpieces is more than contagious. Her passionate performances combine linearity, lyricism, intimacy and an understanding of period practice with a dazzling technique. A very welcome addition to the huge Bach discography!


Polychoral Splendour
Music from the four galleries of the Abbey Church of Muri by Giovanni Gabrieli and Heinrich Schütz
Cappella Murensis (Siri Karoline Thornhill, Stephanie Petitlaurent, Rolf Ehlers, Jürgen Ochs, Mirko Ludwig, Manuel Warwitz, Simon Schnorr, Kees Jan De Koning), Les Cornets Noirs, Johannes Strobl
Audite 92.652
A marvelous recording reflecting the highly colorful, rich and vital spirituality of Venice in the 17th century. The title ‘Polychoral Splendour’ could not be better chosen for the committed performances by Cappella Murensis and Les Cornets. The surround sound recording is impressive indeed.


Christian Gerhaher – Ferne Geliebte
Beethoven – Haydn – Schönberg – Berg
Christian Gerhaher, baritone, Gerold Huber, piano
Sony Classical 88691935432
The great German baritone Christian Gerhaher combines exceptional insight in his repertoire programming, countless nuances in his phrasing, painstaking musicality and the charming simplicity that is the second nature to the greatest artists.


Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy – Geistliches Chorwerk
Kammerchor Stuttgart, Frieder Bernius
Carus 83020
Recording Mendelssohn’s complete sacred music for choir is in itself a huge achievement, and the sensitivity and refinement of these performances make this edition a necessary point of departure for all future work in this field.


Stanislaw Moniuszko: Verbum nobile
Aleksander Teliga, Aleksandra Buczek, Leszek Skrla, Michal Partyka, Janusz Lewandowski, Chor i Orkiestra Opery na Zamku / Warcislaw Kunc
Dux 783
The lightness and charm of the overture sets the tone for a wonderfully engaging performance from the forces of Szczecin’s Opera at the Castle under Warcislaw Kunc. Celebrated as the ‘Father of Polish music’, Moniuszko remains too little known abroad, and this Verbum Nobile – only the work’s second recording – should help to increase his appeal.


Serge Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 28, Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36
Nikolai Lugansky, piano
Naïve AM208
Nikolai Lugansky has recorded the two piano sonatas by Rachmaninov in a truly exemplary manner. His outstanding pianistic skill enables him to produce massive agglomerations of sound while maintaining perfect tonal balance and transparency. The melodic lines of the slow movements are moving in contour yet inflected without sentimentalism.


Olivier Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du temps
Carolin Widmann, violin, Jörg Widmann, clarinet, Nicolas Altstaedt, cello, Alexander Lonquich, piano
Orfeo C 840121 B
Carolin & Jörg Widmann, Nicolas Altstaedt and Alexander Lonquich perform Messiaen’s Quartet for the end of time with great dignity and sense of proportion, as is appropriate to the seriousness of this work, while reveling in the score’s joyous play of colors.


Dances to a Black Pipe
Copland – Brahms – Fröst – Piazzolla – Hillborg – Högberg
Martin Fröst, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti
In these outstanding performances the Swedish Clarinet player Martin Fröst offers another impressive demonstration of his wide-ranging virtuosity and musical souplesse. He builds around the Copland Clarinet Concerto an unusual programme of works related to dance: Klezmer, Tango, Hungarian dances by Brahms, but also contemporary dances by Lutoslawski and Fröst’s compatriots Hillborg and Högberg.


Albert Roussel: Le festin de l’araignée (The Spider’s Banquet), Padmâvatî
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Stéphane Denève
Naxos 8.572243
After recording the complete Symphonies by Albert Roussel, Stéphane Denève and the Royal Scottish Orchestra continue their outstanding exploration of this composer’s work in an album featuring the orchestral suites. The coloristic richness of these scores has never been revealed to such telling effect.


Einojuhani Rautavaara: Cello Concerto No. 2 ‘Towards the Horizon’, Modificata, Percussion Concerto ‘Incantations’
Truls Mørk, cello, Colin Currie, percussion, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgårds
Ondine ODE11782
This first-ever recording of the last two concertos by this master of the genre highlights the multifaceted talent of the composer: on one hand the rhythmic precision of the percussion and on the other the romantic, almost mystical quality suggested by the shimmering colors in the Cello Concerto. The two distinguished soloists match in every phrase the inspiration of the works themselves.


Anton Bruckner: Symphonies No. 1 – 9
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Herbert Blomstedt
Querstand VKJK 1230
Unfussy and surprisingly transparent: this is a truly modern Bruckner-Cycle! Blomstedt combines the full round ‘German’ sound of the Gewandhaus Orchestra with electrifying, sharply-contoured and brightly-coloured, aristocratic phrasing.


Les Ballets Russes
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring
Moscow Philharmonic, Moscow State Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, Dmitrij Kitajenko, Pierre Boulez, Vladimir Fedoseyev
Melodiya 1001990
In these brilliant and strongly contrasting recordings, Stravinsky’s music captivates the listener thanks to the constant musical tension, the coloristic and rhythmic vividness of the performances. The sharply-defined Melodiya recording enhances the impact of the interpretations.


Francesco Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur
Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Olga Borodina, Alessandro Corbelli, David Soar, Iain Paton, Janis Kelly, Sarah Castle, Maurizio Muraro, Bonaventura Bottone, Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Sir Mark Elder (conductor) & David McVicar (stage director)
Decca 0743459
No other DVD of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur makes us as consistently aware of the work’s exquisite musical craftsmanship and sensitively-judged theatrical construction as this 2010 Covent Garden performance. Conductor Mark Elder and director David McVicar offer an ideal framework for the inspired interaction of Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Olga Borodina and Alessandro Corbelli.


John Cage – Journeys in Sound. A Film by Allan Miller & Paul Smaczny
Accentus ACC 20246
Celebrating Cage’s centenary, this is an extraordinary documentary that explores the composer’s imaginative universe in great detail and with rare intelligence and truthfulness, making us aware of his greatness as both as a musician and as a creative artist of the first order.