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2009 Grammy® Award-winning Titles from Naxos

February 9, 2009

Naxos is delighted to announce the following winners from the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, held on 8 February 2009.


Congratulations to the Pacifica Quartet, Hila Plitmann, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta, and, of course, to the great composers whose music they interpret on these award-winning discs: Elliott Carter and John Corigliano.

Best Chamber Music Performance

Elliott Carter: String Quartets Nos 1 & 5
Pacifica Quartet

Released to celebrate the American master Elliott Carter’s centenary, this is the first of two discs of the complete String Quartets. Carter himself has written: ‘I probably decided to write what was to be the First Quartet when I read about a composition prize in Liège, Belgium, because there were many ideas swarming around in my imagination about expression, rhythm, and harmony, mostly derived from my Cello Sonata ... Then my Second, Third, and Fourth Quartets developed my imaginings in different ways until I began to realize that soon I would exhaust this direction, and so my Fifth Quartet became a farewell to the previous four and an exploration of a new vision.’

This disc has gained the highest critical praise world-wide:

“I'd place the Pacifica set at the head of the class”
American Record Guide
Artistic Quality 10 – Classics Today
“A great release” – Fanfare
“A wonderful bargain, and the best possible introduction to Carter's music.” – 5 STARS, The Guardian
“For sheer instrumental skill, note-to-note precision and unflagging energy, the Pacifica Quartet would be hard to beat in this music, which they addressed heart and soul.”
Musical America
“A great release, which leaves me with nothing else to say.” – Positive Feedback Online
“The Pacificas, who have given all five works in a prodigious single programme, play magnificently.” – The Sunday Times
“Music with heart as well as a brain; and a great Naxos bargain.” – 4 STARS, The Times
“a knockout” – The West Australian

Elliott Carter Biography & Discography

The Pacifica Quartet’s recording of Elliott Carter’s String Quartets Nos. 2, 3 & 4 (8.559363) is also available

Best Classical Vocal Performance
Best Classical Contemporary Composition

John Corigliano: Mr Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan
Hila Piltmann, soprano
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
JoAnn Falletta, conductor


“… A colleague suggested that I look into the poetry of the songs of Bob Dylan. Having not yet listened to the songs, I decided to send away for the texts only … and found many of them to be every bit as beautiful and as immediate as I had heard – and surprisingly well-suited to my own musical language … these would be in no way arrangements, or variations, or in any way derivations of the music of the original songs, which I decided to not hear before the cycle was complete … I intended to treat the Dylan lyrics as the poems I found them to be. Nor would their settings make any attempt at pop or rock writing. I wanted to take poetry I knew to be strongly associated with popular art and readdress it in terms of concert art – crossover in the opposite direction, one might say. Dylan granted his permission, and I set to work.” – John Corigliano

Hila Plitmann

JoAnn Falletta

John Corigliano

Performance 4 STARS, Recording 5 STARS – BBC Music magazine

“Plitman sings beautifully…Falletta's conducting is first rate and the Buffalo Philharmonic plays faultlessly in both pieces.  While this is my pick for the best recording I have heard this year, you should know that it is headphone music. Some of it is so subtly recorded that I did not pick up its details until I listened with headphones. Boy, is it worth it.
Charlestown Gazette

“Jerusalem-born soprano Hila Plitmann comes across as an excellent choice for the Naxos initiative…A resounding hurrah for Naxos engineers Tim Handley and Tom Lazarus. Titanic, zealous stuff.” –  Music & Vision

John Corigliano Biography & Discography



Two titles on labels distributed by Naxos in some countries also won 2009 Grammy® Awards. Congratulations to the artists and record labels for their outstanding achievements.

Best Small Ensemble Performance

Spotless Rose: Hymns To The Virgin Mary
Phoenix Chorale
Charles Bruffy, conductor
Chandos CHSA 5066

“The more I hear if the American Phoenix Chorale, the more I admire their work. Their English-leaning choral style, impinging on the territory of Polyphony or the Sixteen, feels absolutely right for this repertoire. Their peerlessly blended style makes for persuasive readings.” – BBC Music Magazine

“Charles Bruffy’s much talked-up Phoenix Chorale of Arizona contributes a CD of Marian anthems which new repertoire hounds should check out for Three Latin Motets by Cecilia MacDowall and Electra by a composer new to me, Jean Belmont Ford – choir, bass drum and single timpano combine atmospherically in contrasting setting of texts associated with Marian Theology.” – Choir and Organ

 “Choral singing just doesn’t get much better than this. When it comes to purity of tone, daunting precision and superfine blend, Charles Bruffy’s remarkable Phoenix Chorale have it all – and then some!” – Gramophone

Best Classical Album
Best Opera Recording

Kurt Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny
Los Angeles Opera
James Conlon, conductor
EuroArts 2056258

“The production stars two members of Broadway royalty, both of whom were making their L.A. Opera debuts: Audra McDonald as Jenny, the enterprising whore who makes her way to the boomtown, and Patti LuPone as Leocadia Begbick, madam extraordinaire and Mahagonny's presiding spirit. Joining them are Anthony Dean Griffey as Jimmy McIntyre, Robert Wörle as Fatty the Bookkeeper, John Easterlin as Jack O'Brien, Mel Ulrich as Bank Account Bill, Donnie Ray Albert as Trinity Moses, Derek Taylor as Toby Higgins and Steven Humes as Alaska Wolf Joe.

“L.A. Opera music director James Conlon conducts, with stage direction by John Doyle, whose searing staging of Sweeney Todd won a Tony Award in 2006 and whose Broadway production of Sondheim's Company received plenty of acclaim, several Tony nominations and one Tony Award (for Best Revival of a Musical) earlier this year.” –


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