Grammy entertainment

It’s pointless to argue with award shows, but still there’s something about the classical Grammy winners that makes no sense. The best classical album was Mahler’s Third Symphony, with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the San Francisco Symphony. And the best orchestral album was Mahler’s Third, but this time with the Vienna Philharmonic, Pierre Boulez conducting.

Which, as I said, makes no sense! The Tilson Thomas Mahler Third is of course an orchestral album. So if it’s the best classical album of the year, then it also has to be the best orchestral album. The Boulez CD, by pure logic, had no business winning.

When you see something weird like that in the Grammys, you have to look at the nominations. They’re supposed to protect against lapses in common sense (and, for that matter, musical understanding). If something went badly wrong with an award, a mistake in the nominations may have made the problem possible.

And that’s exactly what happened here. Both the Tilson Thomas and Boulez CDs were nominated for best classical album, but only the Boulez was nominated for best orchestral release. That allowed the two awards, which are so delectably silly when you look at them side by side.

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