06 Oct 2009 11:55
YouTube stars win Gramophone’s recording of the year
A youthful string quartet that drew 45,000 hits on YouTube for its performance of a song from the movie Pulp Fiction has won Recording of the Year at the Classic FM Gramophone Awards.
The French ensemble, Quatuor Ebène, is considered a surprise winner in what the Times newspaper describes as “one of classical music’s most illustrious prizes”.
It was Quatuor Ebène’s first disc, of Debussy, Ravel and Fauré string quartets, that defeated recordings featuring some of classical music’s biggest names including Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel, soprano Angela Gheorghiu and conductor Sir Mark Elder.
James Inverne, editor of Gramophone, told the Times that the instinctiveness of Quatuor Ebène’s recording set it apart. “It’s as if they waited until they were [feeling the music] not only in their brains but in their bones,” he said. “It is the result of a decade’s work, since they were teenagers, and it is sublime playing.”
The Awards were covered extensively by the Times, which also published a full list of winners, BBC News, the Guardian, and BBC Radio Three in its popular ‘CD Review’ and ‘In Tune’ programmes.
Sponsor Classic FM radio also featured the Awards heavily on air, in two feature-length programmes hosted by Inverne and a winners special, and in special features including video and photos on its website.
The Awards were also picked up by news wires and have so far also made local news in Wales, Liverpool and Minnesota.
Violist Mathieu Herzog accepted Quatuor Ebène’s prize for top recording as well as best Chamber recording at a ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel on Friday, October 2.
Other winners included The Sixteen choir (Artist of the Year and Baroque Vocal), pioneering Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Lifetime Achievement), 22-year-old pianist Yuja Wang (Young Artist of the Year) and the Royal Opera House and the Sun newspaper for their Don Giovanni opening night reader offer (Classic FM Innovation Award).
The Music in the Community Award – a new award run in collaboration with the Times and the subject of a recent double-page spread in the newspaper – went to Matthew Peacock of Streetwise Opera, a company that works with homeless people.