Jensen Artists Publicizes Three Albums Nominated for 2021 Grammy Awards


Jensen Artists is honored to have publicized the following three albums which have been nominated for 2021 Grammy Awards:

Best Orchestral Performance Concurrence — Daníel Bjarnason, conductor (Iceland Symphony Orchestra) — Sono Luminus Best Classical Solo Vocal Album Ethel Smyth: The Prison — Sarah Brailey & Dashon Burton; James Blachly, conductor (Experiential Chorus; Experiential Orchestra) — Chandos Records Best Classical Instrumental Solo Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas — Igor Levit — Sony Classical


In the Best Orchestral Performance category, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra is nominated for Concurrence, conducted by Daníel Bjarnason. The album was released by Sono Luminus on November 15, 2019 and was recorded at Harpa in Reykjavík, Iceland. Concurrence features music by Icelandic composers Anna Thorvaldsdóttir (Metacosmos), Haukur Tómasson (Piano Concerto No. 2), Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir (Oceans), and Páll Ragnar Pálsson (Quake) plus soloists Víkingur Ólafsson, piano and Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello. Sono Luminus’ album package for Concurrence includes both CD and Pure Audio Blu-ray with 9.1 Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos 7.1.4, and 5.1 DTS-MA versions, as well as the mShuttle application containing FLAC and MP3 audio files. Concurrence follows the 2017 release of Recurrence, the first of this trilogy of albums from Sono Luminus and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Of the music on Concurrence, Steve Smith writes in the liner notes for the album, “Hearing Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos and María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir’s Oceans in close proximity, it’s hard not to consider once more the natural features of Iceland. But before you decide to approach these disparate works as paintings in sound, listen again for aspects that distinctly evoke more human dimensions. . . In Tómasson’s Piano Concerto No. 2, the soloist is first among equals, a frolicsome force in continual conversation with lively choruses of counterparts, never overshadowed but also rarely isolated. The solo cello is more prominent, perhaps, in Pálsson’s Quake, but not in the sense of a single orator foregrounded against a complementary background. Rather, amid the work’s deliberate, effective tectonic judders and jolts, the soloist might well be... well, us, responding with panic and adroitness to keep pace with the rumbling, mysterious tumult all around.”

More information about the album is available here: https://www.sonoluminus.com/store/concurrence


The world premiere recording of composer Dame Ethel Smyth’s 1930 masterwork, The Prison, receives a nomination for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. The performance was conducted by James Blachly with his Experiential Orchestra and Chorus, featuring soprano Sarah Brailey and bass-baritone Dashon Burton as soloists and was released August 7, 2020 on Chandos Records. Appropriately given Smyth’s role in the Suffragette movement in England, the August release date coincided with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote in the United States. The recording, by Grammy-Award winning producers Blanton Alspaugh and Soundmirror, took place in February 2019. The album is recorded in Surround Sound and available as a Hybrid CD.

The Prison is a 64-minute symphony in two parts, “Close on Freedom” and “The Deliverance.” Sometimes called an oratorio or a cantata, it is similar in scale and scope to the vocal symphonies of Mahler. On the title page, Smyth quotes the last words of Greek philosopher Plotinus, “I am striving to release that which is divine within us, and merge it in the universally divine.” The text for the work, drawn from a philosophical work by Henry Bennet Brewster, describes the writing of a man in a solitary cell and his reflections on his past life and his preparations for death. But the text is poetic and reflective, with layers of meaning and metaphor. Thus the “prison” is both an actual jail, and a philosophical representation of the “shackles of self,” as Brewster describes them. This was Smyth’s last work and her only symphony – she was 72 when she completed it in 1930. She stopped composing shortly after, due to advancing deafness.

More information about the album is available here: https://experientialorchestra.com/smyth


Igor Levit received a nomination in Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his momentous 9-CD cycle, Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas. Levit’s work on the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas has been the most important endeavour of the past 15 years of his life. This studio recording of the complete sonata cycle represents the recorded testament to almost half his life spent in the study and performance of these sonatas. One of the most eagerly awaited recordings for the 250-year Beethoven anniversary, Sony Classical released the collection on September 13, 2019.

As an entirely “modern” performer, he makes no distinction between purportedly marquee works such as the Pathétique or the Appassionata and lesser-known sonatas such as op. 31/1 or op. 54. The last one in particular is played with considerable charm, intellectual acuity as well as technical brilliance. Levit’s interpretation of Beethoven invites listeners to listen from beginning to end, to get to know the entire cycle – and be astounded over and over again. The complete recording of all 32 piano sonatas by the pianist who was released, as coincidence would have it, exactly 32 years old. Studio productions of work groups of this size have become few and far between in the record market and none of the top international concert pianists have concentrated their efforts so completely on one segment of the repertoire the way he has.

More information about the album is available here: https://igorlevit.lnk.to/BeethCompSonpr

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