The chart returns after a week’s break, with “Alma Mater - Music from the Vatican” still at Number 1, and Howard Goodall continuing to occupy the next two places. Further down the list, Beethoven box sets seem to be proving popular, with both Herbert von Karajan’s Symphonies (EMI) and Paul Lewis’s Sonatas (Harmonia Mundi) at 12 and 13. View the chart for January 2 – you can also download it as a pdf.
The New Year’s Honours featured a number of figures from the classical music world. Knighthoods went to the director of the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner – whose stage productions include work in the opera-house – and Dr Ralph Kohn, a philanthropist whose generosity has benefited many musical organisations.
The name of Stanley Day will be familiar to older readers of Gramophone . In the early 1950s he proposed to the publishers that they should create a running index to the increasing number of reviews appearing each month in the magazine: parallel with this, as the Publisher, I was anxious to produce a cumulative catalogue of all LPs currently available in the UK (the first releases having been in June 1950).
Mario Venzago has joined the conducting team at the Northern Sinfonia , as a principal conductor. The Gateshead-based ensemble now boasts two people with that title – the other is John Wilson – in addition to its music director Thomas Zehetmair.
The Midem Classical Awards 2010 will be held during the record industry’s annual trade fair in Cannes in late January. At a gala event, to be co-hosted by the Canadian mezzo Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Gramophone ’s Editor in Chief James Jolly, on January 26, awards will be made for a host of recordings (over many categories) and to a handful of major international stars. Jacek Kaspszyck will conduct Sinfonietta Cracovia.
The French pianist and teacher, Geneviève Joy, has died aged 90. She is survived by her husband, the French composer Henri Dutilleux. She started playing the piano at an early age and entered the Paris Conservatoire aged 12, where as well as the traditional piano curriculum she also worked on accompaniment and sight-reading, a skill that stood her in good stead as her interest in contemporary music developed. She carried off the first prize in most of her subjects at the Conservatoire.
Glyndebourne’s commitment to education and community takes centre stage in March 2010 with four performances of Knight Crew , a new commission by the festival’s first composer-in-residence Julian Philips. Billed as the largest outreach project in Glyndebourne’s history, the work is based on the novel by Nicky Singer, which places the legend of King Arthur in a contemporary urban setting. The production features six professional singers alongside 60 young performers and a “Mothers Chorus” of local adults, accompanied by an ensemble of professional and young instrumentalists.
Fourteen minutes of applause greeted 25-year-old Anita Rachvelishvili and the cast of Barenboim's Carmen yesterday evening as another high-profile season began at La Scala, Milan. The annual December 7 opening night sold out long before the event as usual, even with tickets priced at €2,400. The performance was given in the presence of the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano.