With nuanced detail, well-structured, lovingly presented - quaver for quaver - this is easily the least satisfying Mahler 7th I have ever heard on record or live.
For all its beauty, professionalism and excellence in execution, for every instance that is above criticism, the symphony as a whole is - to my ears - a complete failure.
However, Ainadamar has considerable appeal and will likely make a nice choice for sultry evening background sound (easy on the ears, by comparison with many other modern operas, certainly), beyond the growing market of those who have seen the opera staged. If nothing else, the price of the CD is justified by the opportunity to hear the final trio ("Venga, tome su mano" and "Doy mi sangre") as Margarita (Dawn Upshaw) is united in death with her beloved student Nuria (soprano Jessica Rivera) and the shade of Lorca (the unclassifiable Kelley O'Connor).My threat in that post still stands: I am planning to teach Ainadamar in my Humanities class this year, combining it with a section on García Lorca's poetry, Silvestre Revueltas's Homenaje a García Lorca, and Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children.
Other Classical Grammy Winners:
- Choral Performance: "Pärt: Da Pacem," Paul Hillier, conductor (Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir)
- Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra): "Messiaen: Oiseaux Exotiques (Exotic Birds)," John McLaughlin Williams, conductor; Angelin Chang (Cleveland Chamber Symphony)
- Chamber Music Performance: "Intimate Voices," Emerson String Quartet
- Small Ensemble Performance: "Padilla: Sun of Justice," Peter Rutenberg, conductor (Los Angeles Chamber Singers' Cappella)
- Classical Vocal Performance: "Rilke Songs," Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Peter Serkin), track from Lieberson: Rilke Songs, The Six Realms, Horn Concerto
- Classical Crossover Album: "Simple Gifts," Bryn Terfel (London Voices; London Symphony Orchestra)
- Engineered Album, Classical: "Elgar: Enigma Variations; Britten: the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Four Sea Interludes," Michael Bishop, engineer (Paavo Jarvi and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra)
- Producer of the Year, Classical: Elaine Martone