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Classical winners of the year? Who are they kidding….

The International Classical Music Awards – ICMA – has announced its winners for 2013.

Rub your eyes before and after reading this list:

ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Carolin Widmann

carolin widmann
CLASSICAL WEBSITE AWARD: Philharmonia Orchestra

Is that the best they could find? Here’s how they pick ‘em:

“The ICMA Jury comprising 17 leading media from 13 countries include six Special Awards paying respect to exceptional musicians and producers. All this Awards are the expression of our jury’s aim of making the difference between good and exceptional,” said
Remy Franck, President of the Jury.

The ICMA is based in Luxembourg. The awards will be presented in Milan.

Oh, and the year’s best opera and symphony recordings are….. fanfare….

Stanislaw Moniuszko: Verbum nobile
Aleksander Teliga, Aleksandra Buczek, Leszek Skrla, Michal Partyka, Janusz
Lewandowski, Chor i Orkiestra Opery na Zamku / Warcislaw Kunc
Dux 783


Albert Roussel: Le festin de l’araignée (The Spider’s Banquet), Padmâvatî
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Stéphane Denève
Naxos 8.572443

Read some further disparagements here.

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  1. Mark Pemberton says:

    Glad to see two ABO members on that list!

  2. Victor Eskenasy says:

    So, “17 leading media” they say :) I’d wish to see the jury and their preferences… Something wrong in DK!

  3. Ciccolini is a fine artist. But who are the others?

    • Herbert Pauls says:

      Indeed, it would be difficult to find a name more worthy than Ciccolini for a lifetime achievement prize.

    • Valer Barna-Sabadus is a rather extraordinary young countertenor from Romania.

    • Renate Perls says:

      Ciccolini was always the best. The pity is that he is not as well known as he once was in the USA…

  4. Funny, but I know quite a lot of people who think that because they, personally, haven’t heard of someone, they can’t be any good. It’s an extraordinary attitude. Hard to believe that the Philharmonia is too obscure. Or Carolin Widmann (highly accomplished violinist, sister of composer Jorg), the absolute piano legend Ciccolini, or Robert von Behr of the superb record label BIS. As for the young artists, shouldn’t one at least give them a listen before throwing stones?

  5. Michele di Modena says:

    Of course nobody should judge upon famous/not famous. That’s stupid. But for god’s sake: Don’t they have ears to listen. While Ciccolini certainly is a wonderful pianista and musician, I wonder who could chose Carolin Widmann. Her violin playing remembers me of lwo conservatory niveau. A violin should sound like a violin and not like scratching wood. It’s not enough to be sister of a talented brother.

  6. Marko Velikonja says:

    Give points, though, for some unusual repertoire getting awards.

  7. Martin Locher says:

    Didn’t (yet) hear the recording of The Spider’s Banquet, but if it’s as good as the Glasgow concert performance, an award is well justified. Although, I’m wondering if it’s an as great experience without subtitle support offered during the concert performance.

  8. Istvan Horthy says:

    Aldo Ciccolini, who has tended to be underrated, deserves this: his Liszt box set on EMI is superb. He is a pianist who takes his time and thinks and feels deeply, a little like Arrau.

  9. Ciccolini has spent his career promoting works and composers that are, he feels, unjustly neglected. And a fine pianist. I don’t see the problem. And if you haven’t heard Carolin Widmann play then you need to start. And as for Robert (“Bissie”) – well, the music world would be a far poorer place without his visionary approach to artists, repertoire and recording.

  10. OMG, who were the jury?

    • Apparently, it is alas not allowed to say here that there is a completely rubbish French-speaking website among the jury.

  11. Love it – British orchestra wins major international award and it’s dismissed with open mockery. Wrong kind of British orchestra, you see. If this was yet another gong for LSO Live from the usual cosy London-based awards committees, it’d be praised from the rooftops.

    Hearty congratulations to the RSNO for a well-deserved prize, and for throwing further light on that timeless philosophical conundrum: If a UK orchestra does something incredible and no metropolitan critic hears it, does it still make a sound?

    • Christopher Morley says:

      Halldor, fantastic philosophical conundrum! We have no national newspapers — only London-centric ones. We in the regions plough far less self-regarding furrows.

  12. Pira Beresford says:

    Looking at the full list of winners – the ones quoted above are only a small selection – shows that other winners include recordings by Isabelle Faust, Christian Gerharer, Nikolai Lugansky, Herbert Blomstedt, Truls Mork, and Richard Tognetti amongst others. I am sure that we could all find recording and musicians that we personally prefer, but these are scarcely ridiculous choices.

    What was the point of such a mean-spirited blog entry?

    And hear hear to Halldor’s comment on metropolitan critics.

    • Martin Locher says:

      Just intented point to Blomstedt / Leipzig’s Bruckner set too, which was given the “collection award”. Whomever heard Blomstedt conduct Bruckner must not wonder that these 10 CDs will be given an award.

      Saying that, there are way too many artists and way too many awards to keep a serious overview of all the talent out there. Reading about music awards feels like watching Olympic swimming where gold medals are awarded every couple of minutes.

      • Just checked out the Blomstedt Bruckner set on Amazon (UK): currently going for £118. Perhaps it should win a second award: Most Overpriced Collection of the Year.

      • Michael Hurshell says:

        I heard Blomstedt do the B flat Symphony in Berlin some years ago. Having heard Bruckner performed by the Vienna Phil, the New York Phil, the Boston Sym, the Chicago Sym, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Gewandhaus Orch, Münchner Phil, and many more, I must say: Blomstedt’s Bruckner in Berlin was absolutely marvelous, fantastic balance, great tempi, and fabulous transitions. He is one of the best Bruckner conductors alive.

  13. Agree with most of the above. Good to see a London orchestra that’s not the LSO getting some plaudits, as well as some names who aren’t the most obvious.

  14. ICMA is the most ”international” award organisation in the classical music business. The editors / critics / radio producers who are the members of the ICMA jury come from diverse countries such as France, Russia, Finland, England, Turkey, Hungary, Luxembourg, England etc. While the other awards such as Gramophone, Diapason, ECHO reflects national tendencies and tastes heavily in their choices ICMA jury do have the ability to decide and act more free from all prejudices and market conditons. Also one should not forget that classical music stars like Dessay, Benedetti have the great support of their record companies but most other succesful musicians and records do not have this opportunity. What’s bad about tracking and rewarding these ”obscure” albums?

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