Covermount Competition - results
Below are the results for the monthly Gramophone Covermount Competition, dating back to May 2009.
The competition on the cover disc of the July 2010 issue, which was our Proms issue, invited you to identify the excerpts and, where possible, the soloists and say what linked the six works as well as picking the odd one out. You heard Janine Jansen in the second movement of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 (Decca); Gramophone Artist of the Year Hilary Hahn in the last movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (Sony); Lisa Batiashvili in the climax of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (Sony); Arabella Steinbacher playing from the second movement of Berg’s Violin Concerto (Orfeo); former Artist of the Year Julia Fischer’s brilliant ending of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (Pentatone); and the issue’s cover star Nicola Benedetti playing Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending (DG). All six works are linked in that they are being performed at this year’s Proms; all except the Vaughan Williams are violin concertos.
The June 2010 covermount competition asked you to identify from the six excerpts the “greatest recordings ever” and spot the odd one out. You heard “Se la giurata fede” from Puccini’s Tosca (Tito Gobbi and Maria Callas/Victor de Sabata in the famous EMI recording); an excerpt from the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in Carlos Kleiber’s celebrated recording with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on DG; “Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden” from John Eliot Gardiner’s recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion on DG; Jon Vickers with Tito Gobbi in “Si, pel ciel” from Verdi’s Otello on RCA under Tullio Serafin; the “Sanctus” from Victoria’s Requiem, with the Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips on Gimell; and David Oistrakh (vn), Mstislav Rostropovich (vc) and Sviatoslav Richter (pf) with the Berlin Philharmonic under Karajan in the climax to Beethoven’s Triple Concerto on EMI. The odd one out was Gobbi and Vickers in Otello, unaccountably omitted from the list of 250 Greatest Recordings, as chosen by 35 of the world's leading musicians for that month's cover story.
The May 2010 covermount competition invited you to name the group wishing Gramophone a happy 87th birthday. Many of you readily identified the inimitable King’s Singers.
The covermount competition in our April 2010 (Chopin 200th anniversary) issue invited you to identify the odd one out of six piano excerpts and name as many of the pieces – and pianists – as you could. They were: Chopin’s Prelude No 7 in A, Op 28 No 7 (Evgeny Kissin on Sony); his Ballade No 3 in A flat, Op 47 (Sviatoslav Richter on DG); Jonathan Plowright playing Tchaikovsky’s Un poco di Chopin, Op 72 No 15 (Hyperion); Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op 66 (Arthur Rubinstein on Sony); the Marche funèbre from Chopin’s Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor, Op 35 (Hélène Grimaud on DG); and Martha Argerich playing his Scherzo No 2 in B flat minor, Op 31, on Decca. The odd one out was, of course, the Tchaikovsky.
The six excerpts in the March 2010 covermount competition were all waltzes by Strauss: the Emperor Waltz (Willi Boskovsky on EMI); from Die Fledermaus (Carlos Kleiber on DG); the Blue Danube (Willi Boskovsky on EMI); from Der Rosenkavalier (Otto Edelmann as Baron Ochs, conducted by Herbert von Karajan on EMI); the “Lagoon Waltz” from Eine Nacht in Venedig (Willi Boskovsky on EMI); and the “Treasure Waltz” from Der Zigeunerbaron (Grace Bumbry et al, conducted by Franz Allers on EMI). Of course, whereas all (bar number four) were creations of the waltz king Johann II, Ochs’s exquisite parodical waltz from Der Rosenkavalier is by the unrelated Richard and thus is the odd one out.
The February 2010 covermount competition asked you to identify the pianists and name the odd one out. The key was realising you were listening to composers playing (with technological help) their own music. The pianists were George Gershwin (a 1925 piano roll) in his Rhapsody in Blue, recorded with the Columbia Jazz Band, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas (Sony Classical); odd one out Percy Grainger playing not his own music but the Grieg Piano Concerto, now recorded with the Kristiansand Symfoniorkester on Lindberg Lyd; Dmitri Shostakovich playing his Second Piano Concerto on EMI; Sergei Rachmaninov playing his Prélude in C sharp minor, Op 3 No 2, on RCA; Edvard Grieg playing his Wedding Day at Troldhaugen (more than 100 years ago) on Lindberg Lyd; and, finally, more of Gershwin playing Rhapsody in Blue. The sound quality of some of these recordings, incorporating old mechanical devices and the very latest technology, is astonishing.
The January 2010 covermount competition asked you what linked five of the six excerpts and to identify the odd one out. You heard the Bridal Chorus from Wagner’s Lohengrin (“Treulich gefuhrt ziehet dahin”), with the Staatskapelle Berlin under Daniel Barenboim (Teldec); the Wedding March from Mendelssohn’s incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (LSO / André Previn on EMI); Alice Coote singing “My work is done” from Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius under Sir Mark Elder on Hallé’s own label; the beginning of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 1 in G minor, Winter Daydreams (London Philharmonic Orchestra / Mstislav Rostropovich on EMI); “I swear to thee” from Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Della Jones as Hermia and John Graham Hall as Lysander, with the City of London Sinfonia under Richard Hickox on Virgin); and Leif Ove Andsnes playing “Träumerei” from Schumann’s Kinderszenen on EMI. The link was dreams and the odd excerpt out the Lohengrin.
In our December 2009 issue, celebrating 50 years of the Solti Ring, the covermount competition asked you to name the Brünnhildes, their conductors and the odd woman out.
First up was Rita Hunter, singing “Dark, unholy powers” from Twilight of the Gods, conducted by Reginald Goodall, in a Chandos Opera in English release from the famed ENO performances at the London Coliseum in the 1970s. “Wohl taugte dir nicht” was sung by Martha Mödl under the baton of Wilhelm Furtwängler on EMI in Die Walküre.
The Solti Ring gave us the incomparable Birgit Nilsson singing “Ewig licht lachst du selig dann” from Siegfried on Decca, while Régine Crespin’s “Hojotoho! Hojotoho!” was taken from Herbert von Karajan’s recording of Die Walküre on DG. Kirsten Flagstad, one of the most celebrated Brünnhildes of them all, came next – but here she was singing Fricka in Das Rheingold from the Solti Ring, thus rendering her the odd woman out. The excerpt was “Um des Gatten Treue besorgt”. Finally, you heard Astrid Varnay in one of the acclaimed Keilberth Götterdämmerungs on Testament, singing “Grane, mein Ross” from the climactic Immolation Scene.
The question in our November 2009 issue – in what genres do each of the excerpts belong? – looked deceptively easy; only regular contender (and frequent winner) Tore Johannisson of Haparanda, Sweden, submitted an all-correct entry. The excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades, complete with flowery piano, proved particularly problematic. The excerpts were taken from Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor, Op 22, 1st movt (Stephen Hough, pf, on Hyperion); Tchaikovsky’s opera, The Queen of Spades (Kirov Orchestra / Valery Gergiev) on Philips; Brahms, Symphony No 1 in C minor, Op 68, 2nd movt (LSO / Bernard Haitink on LSO Live) – so like a violin concerto that one just can’t quite place; the start of the “Domine Deus” from Rossini’s chirpy Mass, the Petite Messe solennelle (Andreas Schonhage, pf, on Koch); the piano trio-like second movement from Tchaikovsky’s less familiar Second Piano Concerto (Emil Gilels, pf, New Philharmonia Orchestra / Lorin Maazel on EMI); and the piano postlude to “Die alten, bosen Lieder” at the end of Schumann’s song-cycle Dichterliebe (Julius Drake, pf, on Hyperion).
The excerpts included in our Awards 2009 issue covermount competition were, of course, from some of Beethoven’s best-known and much loved works...but the link we were looking for was the conductor of all six pieces, our Lifetime Achievement Award winner Nikolaus Harnoncourt. These acclaimed recordings with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe – including, in the symphonies, a former “Record of the Year” – are all included in the super-budget 14-CD Warner Classics bargain box set (2564 63779-2).
The excerpts were from Piano Concerto No 3 in C minor, Op 37, 1st movt (Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano); Symphony No 7 in A, Op 92, 4th movt; Violin Concerto in D, Op 61, 3rd movt (Gidon Kremer, violin); Agnus Dei from the Missa solemnis, (Robert Holl, bass, Arnold Schoenberg Choir); Romance in F for violin and orchestra, Op 50 (Gidon Kremer, violin); and the Triple Concerto, Op 56, 3rd movt (Thomas Zehetmair, violin, Clemens Hagen, cello, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano).
Our October 2009 issue was a Domingo special and the celebrated tenor was the key to our covermount competition, where you heard six operatic excerpts and were asked to identify the women, the links and the odd man out.
The excerpts were all duets from operas by Verdi, as follows: “O terra, addio” from Riccardo Muti’s Aida, with Montserrat Caballé on EMI; “Un di felice, eterea” from Carlos Kleiber’s La Traviata, with Ileana Cotrubas on DG; “Sotto al mio piè si dischiuda la terra” from Muti’s Don Carlo, with, Daniela Dessì on EMI; “Il Doge qui?” from Gianandrea Gavazzeni’s Simon Boccanegra, with Katia Ricciarelli on Lyrica; “L’onda de’ suoni mistici” from Carlo Maria Giulini’s Il Trovatore, with Rosalind Plowright on DG; and “Deh! la parola amara” from Lorin Maazel’s Luisa Miller, with Elena Obraztsova on DG.
The ubiquitous tenor was, of course, Placido Domingo (he was singing the role of Gabriele Adorno in Boccanegra – he has now graduated to the supreme baritone title role), except in the Don Carlo excerpt where the odd man out was his “three tenors” rival, Luciano Pavarotti.
Our September 2009 issue focused on Antonio Pappano’s acclaimed new recording on EMI of the Verdi Requiem from Rome and this was the key to the covermount competition, which asked you to identify the celebrated recordings from which the excerpts were taken and the odd one out. This proved surprisingly difficult and no one identified the final excerpt, the Libera me, which was in fact from the Pappano recording, with soprano Anja Harteros, your favourite guess being Elisabeth Schwarzkopf under Giulini, which recording was not, in fact, featured. The recordings from which the first four excerpts were taken were: the Monteverdi Choir under John Eliot Gardiner, on Philips, in the Dies irae; Giuseppe di Stefano under Toscanini in the Ingemisco, on RCA; Janet Baker under Solti, also on RCA, in the Lacrymosa; and Renée Fleming and Olga Borodina, under Gergiev, in the Agnus Dei on Philips. The fifth excerpt – the odd one out – was actually from Verdi’s contribution of the Libera me (which he later reworked into the Libera me for his Requiem) to the collaborative Messa per Rossini of 1869, with Cristina Gallardo-Domas under Riccardo Chailly on Decca.
Our August 2009 covermount competition asked you, in this year of particularly notable anniversaries, to find a link between six works. The excerpts you heard were Tito Gobbi singing “Quand’ero paggio” from Verdi’s Falstaff (EMI); Glyndebourne’s own Danielle de Niese as Cleopatra singing “Da tempeste” from Handel’s Giulio Cesare (Decca); Jennifer Smith in the Plaint, “Oh let me weep”, from Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (Archiv); Renée Fleming singing the Song to the Moon from Dvorák’s Rusalka (Decca); Nina Stemme in the Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (EMI); and Joan Sutherland singing “Nel dolce incanto” in the Decca recording of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (actually, as the winner pointed out, a Maria Malibran interpolation rather than authentic Donizetti).
The link was that the operas featured were the six being performed at this summer’s 75th anniversary Glyndebourne Festival.
The covermount competition in our July 2009 (Proms) issue asked you to identify the link between seven performances and name the works. The works were Brahms’s Piano Quintet with the Takács Quartet; Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No 1, “Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke”, S514; Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord” sung by tenor Robert White; Chopin’s Ballade No 3 in A flat, Op 47; Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No 32 in C minor, Op 111; the opening of Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor, Op 22, by Saint Saens; and the Liszt/Busoni Fantasia on two themes from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, all on Hyperion.
The link was the pianist on all seven excerpts, Proms issue guest editor (and Gramophone Gold Disc winner) Stephen Hough.
This was our special issue commemorating the 200th anniversary of Haydn’s death and that provided the clue to the competition on our June 2009 cover CD.
You heard excerpts from the opening of the first movements of Haydn’s symphonies Nos 17 in F, 32 in C, 1 in D, 80 in D minor and 9 in C, on the landmark recordings by the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, under Adam Fischer, now available on Nimbus’s MP3 edition, NI1722. It is also available on conventional CDs from Brilliant Classics.
Grouping the numbers of the symphonies in order gives us 1732-1809, the years of Haydn’s lifespan.
A bumper entry for the May 2009 covermount contest. You heard excerpts from The Walk to the Paradise Garden from Delius’s A Village Romeo and Juliet (conducted by Lloyd-Jones on Naxos); Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy Overture Romeo and Juliet (Janssons on EMI); “Ah! ne fuis pas encore!” from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu under Plasson on EMI); the Dramatic Symphony Roméo et Juliette by Berlioz (Davis on Philips); Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (Previn on EMI); and “Cedi, ah! Cedi” from Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Jennifer Larmore and Hei-Kyung Hong; Runnicles on Teldec). The link was Romeo and Juliet – though not, as most of you suggested, Shakespeare’s (Bellini’s librettist based his work on the Italian novella credited as Shakespeare’s original source). The odd one out was the Delius, which is not actually about Romeo and Juliet.