Two legends to reward, one to remember
Gramophone's Editor's introduction to the October issue of the magazine
One of the privileges of Gramophone is that we get to celebrate some of the greats of our age, and know that readers and colleagues in the music world will celebrate with us. This year’s Gramophone Classical Music Awards placed two such artists particularly prominently on a pedestal for applause: Sir James Galway, winner of our Lifetime Achievement Award, and Sir Neville Marriner, recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award. It is not a privilege we take lightly (nor, clearly, do others – no lesser figures than violinist Kyung-wha Chung and pianist Alfred Brendel offered their time to present each with their Awards).
In all such cases, we honour artists whose lifetime’s contribution has profoundly enhanced music-making in some way. In Galway’s case the flute – its reception, reputation and repertoire – is richer than it was back at the beginning of his career when he played under Karajan as Principal Flute of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Marriner’s imprint, meanwhile, can be found in hundreds of superb recordings which brought eclectic repertoire to many followers, not least in concertos where his wisdom and generosity of spirit have encouraged many soloists of younger generations to great heights of attainment. As with Galway, the role of recording has been a vital part of his career, part of his advocacy of music, but also approached specifically and separately as an art in its own right.
Developing music, nurturing the next generation, relishing recording. These things can also be said of another great figure, the conductor and harpsichordist Christopher Hogwood, whose death was announced just as we were preparing to send the October edition of Gramophone to the printers.
Hogwood was one of the driving forces of the early music movement, which, from the 1970s onwards, radically transformed both our knowledge of a whole era of repertoire, but also our understanding of how that music, and indeed all music, should be played. ‘If anybody deserves the title of a pioneer, Christopher Hogwood does,’ says Barbican Managing Director Sir Nicholas Kenyon in his opening to an hour-long podcast made for Hogwood’s 70th birthday three years ago (which you can listen to here). His fascination with exploring performance techniques leaves a legacy not just in period ensembles such as the Academy of Ancient Music which he founded, but also in the sound of many groups, of myriad sizes and specialisms. Far from just an early music expert, he was also an advocate of more modern composers, including Martinu, who themselves were fascinated with the music of the era with which Hogwood had made his name.
As for the next generation, the AAM – since 2006 in the hands of those he did so much to inspire – will continue not as a monument to his name, but to his belief in the continual progression of music-making. And recording? Hogwood was prolific, not least for Decca’s L’Oiseau-Lyre label. A 50-CD retrospective released by the label in May (the first of a series), of which 37 recordings feature Hogwood and the AAM, is a perfect place to explore his brilliance. We will pay full tribute in our November edition.