Byrd recording takes top classical CD prize

Fri Oct 1, 2010 4:41pm EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A recording of William Byrd's Renaissance liturgical music by the British group The Cardinall's Musick won recording of the year on Friday at a Gramophone magazine awards ceremony that covered the landscape of classical music, from medieval times to the present.

A CD by American mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato "Colbran, the Muse", exploring music that Rossini wrote to be performed by his wife Isabella Colbran, was named best recital while British composer Thomas Ades's 21st-century opera adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" was chosen best in the contemporary category.

A documentary about the late Leonard Bernstein, which filmmaker Peter Rosen said caught the American composer and conductor at a poignant moment while his wife was dying, and which was aired on television but then lingered in vaults for decades, was chosen best DVD documentary.

Pianist Alfred Brendel, who has retired from giving live recitals after a career spanning more than half a century, was given a lifetime achievement award.

"I am reminded about how music is so powerfully uniting and it unites us through centuries and through cultures and religions and gender," DiDonato, who also won the prize for artist of the year, said in accepting her award.

"And the longer I'm in it the more miraculous it is to me."

Music director Andrew Carwood, accepting the award on behalf of The Cardinall's Musick, noted that it was the 13th volume in the group's survey of Byrd's music, which expressed a deeply Catholic sentiment despite being written during the Reformation, when Catholics were persecuted for their religious views.

"My thanks are actually the same as they've always been, first of all to the editorial team (of the Gramophone) and the reviewers and the readers but primarily actually also to the family which is the Cardinall's Musick," said Carwood, whose group has won four of the awards that are sometimes called the Oscars of the classical music world.   Continued...