courtesy of the Universal Music Group
I see that the winners of the 60th annual GRAMMY awards have just been announced. Readers may recall that, at the end of last November, I wrote a piece about the nominations. I had been somewhat heartened that I had devoted my listening attention to items in eight categories, which was two more than when I had written about the 59th annual awards. Now that the awards have been announced, I find that I agreed with the judges over exactly one award, the same number of points of agreement that arose over the 59th annual awards.
At least I can take comfort that the one point of agreement was a particularly good one. I have been following the work of Gavin Bryars with great interest every since Brian Eno released a vinyl album that had “The Sinking of the Titanic” on one side and “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet” on the other. I have come a long was as a listener since then, and I take comfort in how Bryars has come an equally long way as a composer. The award-winning album was The Fifth Century, an ECM New Series release. When I wrote about that album, I declared Bryars to be a composer of “once and future madrigals;” so, to some extent, my enthusiasm was an extrapolation of my interest of earlier madrigalists, such as Orlande de Lassus and Claudio Monteverdi. Nevertheless, Bryars remains very much a composer of the immediate present; and I just hope that such a quality had something to do with The Fifth Century winning the Best Choral Performance GRAMMY!