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Posted at 9:51 PM ET, 02/13/2011


By Anne Midgette

At this point, the classical Grammys are like a dice roll in Monopoly: it's more or less luck of the draw which recordings get selected out of the hundreds of albums released every year, and the whole thing feels a bit like a game since the awards aren't even given during the main-event telecast. Yet the epithet "Grammy award winner" still bears some weight; and the eclectic mix of nominees this year held at least the prospect of some unusual winners.

"Unusual" isn't a Grammy catchword: in several of the classical categories, the most familiar name won (Mitsuko Uchida, Cecelia Bartoli, Jordi Savall or Riccardo Muti, whose convalescence from his recent fall in Chicago may be supported by his winning two Grammys, including Best Classical Album, for the CSO's own release of the Verdi Requiem).

But there were a couple of noteworthy wins. It's hardly surprising that Michael Daugherty came up big, since the Nashville Symphony's release of his Metropolis Symphony and Deus Ex Machina was nominated four times, but it's nice to see him win twice (Best Orchestral Performance and Best Contemporary Composition). Voters not familiar with his work may have liked the fact that this is a symphony about Superman.

And Paul Jacobs has become perhaps the first organist ever to win a solo Grammy for his fine recording of Messiaen's Livre du Saint-Sacrement (which I mentioned as a highlight of 2010's CDs).

By now I have officially belied my professed disdain for the Grammys by devoting a considerable amount of ink to them over the past few years. Time for me to stop saying that they don't matter -- or to start actually ignoring them.

Edited to add: On Ionarts, Charles T. Downey posts his thoughts on the classical Grammys.

By Anne Midgette  | February 13, 2011; 9:51 PM ET
Categories:  national, news, random musings  
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