Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Gramophone Awards

This month Gramophone mag named the best classical CDs of the year, along with gratuitous "artist of the year" and the like.

We endorse their choice for CD of the year, the long-awaited first volume in a series of the Bach cantatas that John Eliot Gardiner began way back in 2000 on the 250th anniversary of Bach's death. It was an ambitious project: Gardiner and the Monteverdi choir wanted to record all of the sacred cantatas in big, old churches Bach would have known during the course of a year, playing the cantatas appropriate to the liturgical calendar each week. A subset of those recordings were released as the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, but Deutsche Grammophon was luke-warm on the project and only released about 10 CDs of what was to be an enormous set.

Gardiner put up his own money to produce and release the remainder of the recordings, and this first volume, released on his home-grown Soli Deo Gloria label, is absolutely incredible. (Take that, Deutsche Grammophon!)

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