Congratulations to violinists Anne Akiko Meyers, Curtis Stewart, Peter Herresthal, Leonidas Kavakos, the Catalyst Quartet and the Harlem Quartet, as well as all the nominees announced Friday for the Recording Academy's 65nd Grammy Awards, which will be presented Feb. 4, at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
Anne Akiko Meyers was nominated along with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Dudamel in the category of "Best Classical Compendium" for their recording of the "Fandango" Violin Concerto by Arturo Márquez. Also nominated in that category are violinist Peter Herresthal, for his recording of Missy Mazzoli's "Dark with Excessive Bright" and the Harlem Quartet for its part in "Passion for Bach and Coltrane," compose by Jeff Scott.
In the category of "Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance," violinist Leonidas Kavakos along with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax were nominated for their album
"Beethoven for Three, Symphony No. 6 'Pastorale.'" Also in that category was the Catalyst Quartet for its "Uncovered, Vol. 3" with works by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, George Walker, William Grant Still.
Here is a run-down of some of the recordings that earned nominations for string players and music:
Best Classical Instrumental Solo
GRAMMY-nominated violinist and composer Curtis Stewart’s "of Love” is dedicated to his mother, Elektra Kurtis-Stewart, who died of brain cancer on Sept. 7, 2021, at age 66. On "of Love.," a through-composed collection of 20 works, Stewart celebrates the perseverance of his mother, a violinist and composer herself. Recorded in his late mother’s Upper West Side, Manhattan, apartment — the apartment where Stewart was raised, the apartment where he cared for his mom during her dying days — "of Love." charts a course of grieving, and of coming to grips with loss. "Loss should be a vital part of our cultural lexicon," Stewart said. "You cannot gain without the threat of loss. You cannot love without it either." BELOW: "Drift to Wake."
Best Classical Compendium
Anne Akiko Meyers performs Arturo Márquez's violin concerto, "Fandango" in this live performance from October 2022 at Disney Hall. "Arturo Márquez's Fandango, which we gave the premiere of in 2021, is a love letter to the dance music of Sonora Mexico," said LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel. "For centuries, the fandango has been one of the more popular Latin dances in the repertoire and has been performed in dance halls across the world. Arturo and I have been dancing in many of these halls ourselves! It has become almost like the heartbeat of Mexican culture." The recording also includes Alberto Ginastera's Estancia, Op. 8. BELOW: All about "Fandango":
Mazzoli: Dark with Excessive Bright (also nominated in the category of "Best Contemporary Classical Composition")
Peter Herresthal, violin
Missy Mazzoli, composer
Bergen Philharmonic, James Gaffigan conducting
Arctic Philharmonic, Tim Weiss conducting
Here is an album of mostly world premiere recordings composed by Grammy nominee Missy Mazzoli. The title work is heard in two versions: one for solo violin and string orchestra and another for solo violin and string quintet. It also includes Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres), These Worlds in Us and Orpheus Undone, and Herresthal plays her solo piece with electronics Vespers for Violin, the only work on the album to have been recorded previously and a 2019 Grammy nominee for Best Classical Composition.
Jeff Scott’s composition Passion for Bach and Coltrane is a concert-length Passion oratorio that combines elements from classical and jazz music. Inspiration runs through every aspect of this composition based on music by Johann Sebastian Bach and John Coltrane, and not just in the improvised solos threaded throughout the work. BELOW: Passion for Bach and Coltrane -1. Aria - from the Bach Goldberg Variations.
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
Like the first Beethoven for Three release — Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 — this recording challenges the traditional boundary between chamber and orchestral repertoire to offer the listener two very different sides of the composer using the same three voices. Performed by a powerhouse combination of musicians Leonidas Kavakos, Emanuel Ax, and Yo-Yo Ma, and reimagined for trio by Shai Wosner, Beethoven’s "Pastorale" Symphony becomes a brilliant exploration of three instruments’ essential expressive capabilities. "It used to be completely normal that the first release of a symphony would not be the full score," Emanuel Ax said, "because to hear an orchestra was a very rare event. You wouldn't get that music until dozens of years later; you would get the arrangement for one piano, four hands, or trio, or quartet, and that's how you got to know the music. So we're going back to the roots." BELOW: Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68, "Pastorale": III. Allegro, "Joyful gathering of countryfolk":
Uncovered, Vol. 3: Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, George Walker, William Grant Still
Karla Donehew Perez, violin
Abi Fayette, violin
Paul Laraia, viola
Karlos Rodriguez, cello
The Catalyst Quartet's album is the third of a multi-volume anthology of string quartet works by historically important Black composers, which aims to bring greater awareness and programming of their music. Volume 3 profiles three American composers who lived through the various Black artistic, political, and social projects that transformed the 20th century; and the deep contradictions that continue to plague the U.S. today: George Walker and his String Quartet No. 1 “Lyric,” Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s String Quartet No. 1 “Calvary,” and William Grant Still’s Lyric Quartet - all works written roughly between 1940 and 1956. BELOW: String Quartet No. 1 "Calvary" by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson: III. Allegro vivace.
Click here for the entire list of 2024 Grammy nominees. Please feel free to highlight any nominations that stand out to you, in the comments section.
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