Grammy Nomination for Death and the Maiden with Kopatchinskaja

By Kyu-Young Kim

On Monday, we learned that we’ve been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for our recording of Franz Schubert’s Death and the Maiden with Patricia Kopatchinskaja. The album also was recognized in the category of Producer of the Year, Classical, as part of the body of work of Blanton Alspaugh, our producer for the album.

We’ve received one Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance in 1980 — for our 1978 recording of Copland’s Appalachian Spring conducted by Dennis Russell Davies —and many other nominations. As Chris Riemenschneider said in the Star Tribune, “Grammy Award voters once again showed their love for The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.”

The Schubert Death and the Maiden project was an important artistic project for the SPCO that traversed several seasons, beginning in December 2014, and including the live concert recordings in March 2015 and a European tour in November 2016. The recording captures all of the intensity and spontaneity of the live concerts in our new hall, less than a month after it opened, and represents SPCO programming and artistry at its most innovative and daring. It is a thrill to receive this honor!

Thank you to our Artistic Partner Patricia Kopatchinskaja for her inspired leadership on the project, and to all who were involved in bringing this project to fruition, including generous donors to the project. Recording and touring is a vital part of our mission to continually elevate the artistic excellence of the orchestra, and we look forward to more projects like these in future years.

In her CD notes for the recording, written with Lukas Fierz, Patricia says:

“In March 2015 with the wonderful Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, we had the chance to explore Schubert’s quartet Death and the Maiden in a multifaceted project. We began with Nörmiger’s Toden Tanz followed by an ancient Byzantine chant of Psalm 140: “Lord, I have cried unto thee, hear me.” To illustrate the Pavan in Schubert’s 2nd movement, we also played one of Dowland’s Pavanes from Seaven Teares. Add to this Moro lasso, a madrigal about death by the famous Renaissance composer (and murderer!) Carlo Gesualdo. Before the Finale, we refresh our ears with unsettling works by one of the greatest living composers, György Kurtag.

“This project with SPCO enlarged our dimensions of hearing and together we approached the music as a soloist would, individually, but all souls mystically linked to an intuitive whole that does not need a conductor. I am looking forward to our future experiences and my heartfelt thanks go to all the musicians and staff of the SPCO for their enthusiastic support and to Bruce Coppock [former President and Managing Director of the SPCO] who made all this possible.”

Patricia will be returning to join us this coming spring with seven concerts at the Ordway Concert Hall and neighborhood venues: April 26 – May 5, 2018. She will lead the SPCO in a program that explores the mystery behind various incomplete musical fragments. The last part of Bach’s magnum opus, his Art of Fugue, trails off mysteriously mid-sentence just as Bach embarks on a complex fugue that contains his musical signature. Fragments of a German chorale (“Immortal Victims”) haunt Hartmann’s tragic Concerto funebre, and Kopatchinskaja intersperses selections from Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments between the movements of Mozart’s most dramatic symphony.