Behind the Grammy Curtain (With the Classical and Jazz Nominees)



What it might have looked like: Golijov takes home the Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.
Photo by John Sann, digitally enhanced by Randy Nordschow

Miss those classical and jazz Grammy Awards flashing by at the bottom of the television screen while the Dixie Chicks and Christina Aguilera were entertaining the masses? Here’s the down and dirty recap of the categories that really count.

Though you never saw him on stage, the Best Classical Contemporary Composition award went to Osvaldo Golijov for his Ainadamar: Fountain Of Tears [Deutsche Grammophon]. He beat out works by Elliott Carter, Christopher Theofanidis, David Del Tredici, and James MacMillan.

Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance were both picked up by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony for their Mahler 7 disc. The Best Opera Recording, however, did manage to keep us out of the archives with another win for Golijov’s Ainadamar, this time in recognition of the excellence of the work by Robert Spano, conductor; Kelley O’Connor, Jessica Rivera, and Dawn Upshaw, soloists; Valérie Gross and Sid McLauchlan, producers (plus the Women Of The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). The Best Classical Vocal Performance honor went to the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson for the Bridge recording of her husband Peter Lieberson’s Rilke Songs.

The Producer Of The Year, Classical went to (gasp!) a woman. Congratulations go to Elaine Martone for busting into the boy’s club and picking up accolades for her work on albums which included the Atlanta Symphony’s Del Tredici/Theofanidis/Bernstein disc.

Perennial Oscar and Grammy favorite John Williams picked up two more golden paperweights, this time for Best Score Soundtrack Album (Memoirs Of A Geisha) and Best Instrumental Composition (“A Prayer For Peace” from the Munich soundtrack).

In the jazz categories, Some Skunk Funk [Telarc Jazz/BHM] picked up Best Jazz Instrumental Solo (Michael Brecker) and Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album (Randy Brecker with the late Michael Brecker, Jim Beard, Will Lee, Peter Erskine, Marcio Doctor, and Vince Mendoza conducting The WDR Big Band Köln). Personally, we would have given it a special award for Best Album Name, but we were not asked to vote.

Béla Fleck and The Flecktones won Best Contemporary Jazz Album for The Hidden Land [Columbia] and Nancy Wilson was honored with a Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy for her Turned To Blue [MCG Jazz].

Chick Corea took home two statues himself: Best Jazz Instrumental Album for his The Ultimate Adventure [Stretch Records] and Best Instrumental Arrangement for “Three Ghouls” track off that same disc.

Best Classical Crossover Album went to Bryn Terfel with the London Voices and the London Symphony Orchestra for Simple Gifts [Deutsche Grammophon]. If you want to hear Terfel sing “Send in the Clowns,” this is apparently the recording to get.

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