RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR
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P H O T O G R A P H Y
WINNER Great violin concertos played with towering authority
Classic, old-school performances gloriously presented
In the spirit of honesty, I will admit that when first my eyes clapped onto this year’s Concerto winner, I didn’t feel particularly excited. Great artists notwithstanding, were live recordings of four core repertoire concertos really the best advertisement, in post-pandemic 2022, for the creativity and relevance of a classical recordings world with now a century’s worth of back catalogue already in the can? I thought not.
But I was wrong. From Zimmermann himself, this is proper ‘old school’ playing, every phrase imbued with an instantly audible individuality and authenticity, clearly drawn entirely from what he’s seeing on the page. The Berliner Philharmoniker, meanwhile, is at its translucently polished, chamber-esque and responsive best, with some fabulous individual solos. Readingswise, while we have three different conductors and three different years, the connecting threads don’t stop with how right and how alive everything feels, or
Bartók. Beethoven. Berg Violin Concertos Frank-Peter Zimmermann vn BPO / Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, Kirill Petrenko Berliner Philharmoniker b + Y BPHR210151 (11/21) Producer Christoph Franke Engineer René Möller 116 VOTES
‘Mozart Momentum 1786’ Mahler CO / Leif Ove Andsnes pf Sony Classical (5/22) 103 VOTES
Kapustin Concertos Frank Dupree pf Rosanne Philippens vn Württemberg CO, Heilbronn / Case Scaglione Capriccio (A/21) 83 VOTES
Sponsored by how each concerto offers fresh perspectives. A captivating interpretational leitmotif also emerges in the shape of Vienna: the strikingly strong waltz feel to this Beethoven slow movement; the degree to which Berg’s tragic angel is a warmly waltzing one; the propulsive three-time lilt of the wistful dreamscape in Bartók’s First Concerto, leaving your ears attuned to every dance inflection his Second. We must also mention the tactile beauty of the box itself, with its accompanying book, high-definition concert videos and interview film, and the fact that all recordings are in lossless studio master quality. Plus, the whole raison d’être – to honour one of the Berliner’s longest and closest relationships with a guest soloist (Zimmermann debuted with the orchestra in 1985) – has an added resonance, when following the pandemic we attach extra value and importance to such musical relationships and physical encounters. Charlotte Gardner
40 GRAMOPHONE GRAMOPHONE RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR 2022
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