It’s the second year in a row that Warner Classics and Erato have taken the lion’s share in the ECHO Klassik Awards, the prestigious German classical music prizes revealed today. Artists from the two labels claimed a total of twelve accolades for excellence in classical recording and performance, including one for the Warner Classics-distributed Euroarts DVD label.
Philippe Jaroussky has been crowned Singer of the Year for the second time (his 5th ECHO Klassik) – the only countertenor ever named in this category to date. He receives the prize for his album Green, a journey through French chanson settings of poetry by Paul Verlaine.
From the Francophile flair of his last recital album, Jaroussky chose to sing in German for the first time for his highly-anticipated recording of Bach and Telemann cantatas with Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, to be released in October. And as this year’s artist in residence at the Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg, set to sing at the opening night of Hamburg’s new concert hall Elbphilharmonie, he has developed stronger connections to German musical life than ever before.
Conductor of the Year goes to Antonio Pappano for his monumental studio recording of Aïda. The Italian-British maestro recorded Verdi’s masterpiece with an all-star cast (including Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann) in Rome and received international critical acclaim, including the BBC Music Award for Album of the Year and a Diapason d’Or.
Diana Damrau is the second Erato singer who picks up a prize this year, for her tour-de-force Violetta in the Paris Opera production of Traviata released on DVD (Music DVD Production of the Year: Opera).
Young French cellist Edgar Moreau receives the ECHO Klassik 2016 as Newcomer of the Year for his Baroque album Giovincello, on which he brings his youthful energy and virtuosic thrills to 18th-century cello concertos by Haydn, Vivaldi, Boccherini, Platti, and the world-premiere recording of a concerto by Carlo Graziani. He was just 21 at the time he made this vibrant recording with Baroque ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro.
Classical without Borders is a category of the ECHO Klassik for music productions that build a bridge either to or from the classical genre. Two awards in this category go to Warner Classics artists: the John Wilson Orchestra (for Cole Porter in Hollywood), which will make its German concert debut in September, and the German quartet Salut Salon for their delightfully whimsical album Carnival Fantasy.
Two Erato pianists receive prizes: Bertrand Chamayou (Solo Recording of the Year) for his multi-faceted recording of Ravel’s complete works for solo piano, and Alexandre Tharaud (Music DVD production of the Year: Concert) for the majestic and detailed film of him playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which was released as a bonus DVD accompanying the album.
The ECHO for Concert Recording of the Year (19th-century music) goes to Il Pomo d’Oro for their Haydn Concertos album, in which joint music directors Riccardo Minasi on violin and harpsichordist Maxim Emelyanychev take turns leading this refined yet lively Baroque band.
Violinist Vilde Frang receives the prize for Concerto Recording of the Year (20th/21st century music) for her latest album of violin concertos by Korngold and Britten, an unusual but riveting pairing that Frang has said it was her dream to record.
The Artemis Quartet receives the prize for the Chamber Music Recording of the Year. Their intense Brahms’ String Quartets 1 & 3 is the final album the Quartet recorded with their late violist Friedemann Weigle, who tragically passed away last year.
The DVD label EuroArts music, distributed via Warner Classics Label Services, takes home the ECHO for Music DVD Production of the Year: Documentary for Ralf Pleger’s The Tschaikovsky Files.
Congratulations to all the winners. The full list of Erato and Warner Classics ECHO prizewinners below makes for a wonderfully comprehensive Best of 2015. The awards ceremony will take place in October. More information about the ECHO Klassik Awards here.
Singer of the Year (male):
Philippe Jaroussky (Green) – Erato
Conductor of the Year:
Antonio Pappano (AIDA) – Warner Classics
Newcomer of the Year (Cello):
Edgar Moreau (Giovincello) – Erato
Classics without Borders:
John Wilson Orchestra (Cole Porter in Hollywood) – Warner Classics
Salut Salon (Carnival Fantasy) – Warner Classics
Concerto Recording of the Year (19th-century music):
Il Pomo d’Oro (Haydn: Concertos) – Erato
Concerto Recording of the Year (20th/21st-century music):
Vilde Frang (Britten/Korngold) – Warner Classics
Solo Recording of the Year (20th/21st-century music / piano):
Bertrand Chamayou (Ravel) - Erato
Chamber Music Recording of the Year (19th century music / strings):
Artemis Quartett (Brahms) - Erato
Music DVD Production of the Year (Opera):
Diana Damrau (La Traviata) – Erato
Music DVD Production of the Year (concert):
Alexandre Tharaud (Bach: Goldberg Variations) – Erato
Music-DVD-Production of the Year (documentary):
Ralf Pleger (The Tschaikovsky Files) - EuroArts
Like no other chamber music group, Salut Salon fuse classical music with tango, folk and film scores featuring stunning solos played with passionate en-thusiasm, charm and humor. They go beyond the boundaries of traditional classical concerts to amaze the purists among classical music lovers and even convert those who are not typical classical music fans. Something that usually only happens to pop stars: a YouTube video of Salut Salon’s version of Vivaldi’s Summer, entitled 'Competitive Foursome' became an overnight YouTube sensation with 20,000,000 views and counting.
You took your inspiration for this album from Camille Saint-Saëns’ 'big zoological fantasy.' What can we expect from Salut Salon’s interpretation of this oft-played work?
Salut Salon: We had the idea for quite some time to write a theme-based programme. And Saint-Saëns’s Carnival seemed a perfect choice. Many know him and are pleased when they recognise some of his pieces ... but we couldn’t fill an entire album with the 14 zoological fantasies that only last 20 minutes. We have, so to speak, been inspired by Saint-Saëns and his music, but, as always, created new interpretations with original arrangements. We play other pieces by Saint-Saëns, such as Africa, and add a few other animals from the realm of fantasy.
You also feature the Armenian song Les Deux Guitares, and many are familiar with the version by Charles Aznavour. How does a piece such as this fit into your programme?
Salut Salon: We took our cue from Saint-Saëns: in his Carnival he transformed pianists into animals and dedicated a piece to them. And we did the same thing with Les Deux Guitares. At the beginning – as the title suggests – there are two and by the end there are four. And they only actually play guitar briefly ... But that’s what it’s like during a carnival. The world is turned upside down!
Animals are one focus on your new album, the carnival is the other: disguise, masquerade. Man becomes animal ...
Salut Salon: We believe that humans differ only slightly from animals. And at the carnival, of course, anything is possible. The world is turned upside down. Incidentally, the same applies to Camille Saint-Saëns. The carnival itself doesn’t feature at all in his Carnival of the Animals, and not a single animal disguises itself. The suite is so named because the premiere, performed by the Paris concert cellist Charles Lebouc in 1886, happened to fall on Shrove Tuesday. We, on the other hand, celebrate wildly and in true carnival spirit – with the waltz from Aram Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite, Brazilian rhythms and even carnivalesque music borrowed from the Peking Opera.
Does the quartet have a favorite animal?
Salut Salon:While working on the programme for this album, all four of us went on safari in Kenya. We couldn’t agree on one animal. Angelika has a soft spot for the prey animals, Sonja would love to work with dancing snakes and Anne was fascinated by the lion and its voracity. Only Iris is unabashedly immodest. She sings: “There’s a zoo inside of me …”
Stephanie Schiller (Translation: Suzanne Suessenbach)
Salut Salon's Carnival Fantasy is out 26 February: find the CD and DVD set here.
Camille Saint-Saëns’ famous Carnival – the majestic 'Introduction and Royal March of the Lion,' the exciting 'Flight Animals,' plunging to the depths for 'The Aquarium,' full of naively twittering birds in 'The Aviary' or the proud 'Swan.'
But Salut Salon, known for their unique interpretations of their beloved classical music, would not be Salut Salon if they didn’t take Saint-Saëns’ zoological fantasy and embark on their own fantastical journey. Combining classical favourites with seldom-heard gems, they transport even minor characters into the spotlight – like the luminescent jellyfish or the snake Kaa from The Jungle Book.
Saint-Saëns’s idea of the pure joy in transformation is the underlying theme of the album. Just like at the carnival, where the world is turned upside-down and nothing is as it appears, the boundary between humans and animals begins to dissolve. Many discover their animal alter-ego living in the music – or revel in the subtle humour that makes the world go round.
Anything is possible. Billy May’s Green Hornet is transformed by Salut Salon into a quirky and surprising arrangement, a talent for which the four exceptional musicians from Hamburg are renowned, as well as Saint-Saëns’s Africa, Jaques Ibert’s Little White Donkey, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze or Astor Piazzolla’s Escualo. John Williams’ Jaws theme rears its head, running into Klaus Doldinger’s Boot and Kurt Weill’s Mack the Knife. Welcome to the realm of fantasy!
Salut Salon's new album Carnival Fantasy is set to be released on 26 February.
The 66th Festival della Canzone Italiana (Italian Festival of Song) kicks off tonight in Sanremo, officially opened by Elton John. The Hamburg quartet Salut Salon is among the international musical acts, joining a line-up that includes actress Nicole Kidman.
The talented foursome from Hamburg perform their irresistible Carnival programme on 10 February: a playful blend of classical music, cabaret and pantomime that takes Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals as its starting point, and forms the basis of their new album Carnival Fantasy.
The classically trained musicians of this all-singing, all-dancing piano quartet will show their characteristic talent, humour and charm alongside special guests Eros Ramazzotti, Ellie Golding and actress Nicole Kidman.
Their Sanremo performance follows Salut Salon's debut French tour; the next months will bring them back to France, and on to Austria, Luxembourg and in April to the United States for 18 shows.
Salut Salon's new album Carnival Fantasy is out now.
The concerts in France culminate with a sold-out debut performance at Paris' Salle Gaveau on January 29. Starting February 7, Salut Salon will bring their Carnival Fantasy to Germany and Austria before returning to France for four more concerts. Find all tour dates here.
ARTE Journal airs today at 7:10pm in Germany / at 7:45pm in France and will be available online for a week here.
Find out more about Salut Salon's new album Carnival Fantasy here.
Salut Salon, the German quartet that became an Internet sensation with more than 20,000,000 YouTube hits on their 'Competitive Foursome' Four Seasons with a twist, are embarking on their first highly-anticipated French tour next week.
With several venues already sold out, the fierce, all-female foursome are bound to delight French audiences with their unique version of Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals - the inspiration for their forthcoming album, Carnival Fantasy.
The eight concerts in France, from 19 January, culminate in a debut performance at Paris' magnificent Salle Gaveau.
The quartet's French-tinged name is a combination of the word for 'greeting' from Elgar's Salut d'Amour, and the 'salon' music that was their starting point. Their performances are a vibrant combination of classical repertoire, tango, cabaret, and everything in between.
Salut Salon's new album Carnival Fantasy will be released in February 2016.
Following a rather unconventional launch performance surrounded by elephants and flamingoes at the Hamburg Zoo, the ladies of Salut Salon will play the first in a series of 'Carnival Fantasy' concerts tonight, at the historic Thalia Theatre in their hometown of Hamburg.
The hardworking quartet will give ten concerts in that city between the 15th and 26th of July, before heading on the road in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, with further dates on the horizon for France and the US.
Titled 'Carnival Fantasy', the animal-themed programme unveiled tonight brings all Salut Salon's humour, charm and virtuosity to bear on classical favourites reinterpreted with a twist, from Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals to Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the bumblebee — all in the quartet's unique signature arrangements — along with Salut Salon's own compositions.
They will explore the same repertoire on a new album slated for release in early 2016.
Hamburg-based piano quartet Salut Salon has been awarded one of the city's greatest honours in a ceremony this week.
Angelika Bachmann (violin), Iris Siegfried (violin and vocals), Anne-Monika von Twardowski (piano) and Sonja Lena Schmid (cello) have been appointed Honorary Guards of the Alster Canal Locks ('Ehren-Alster-Schleusenanwärter' for short!) in recognition of their musical achievements as well as their music education and charitable programs in the community.
The Medal of Honor has been awarded since 1981 to the the sons and daughters of Hamburg who serve as ambassadors to the city throughout the world. Gerd Spiekermann from the Committee of Honorary Guards of the Alster Canal Locks presented the award and said the quartet was chosen not only for its extraordinary rise to international stardom, but also for its philanthropy.
At just 20 years of age, Angelika and Iris co-founded the children's orchestra Cool Strings. In 2003 they became mentors of the Escuela Popular de Artes in Chile, a music school in the slum area Achupallas in the city of Viña del Mar. The ladies of Salut Salon have proven fierce fundraisers, gathering more than €500,000 for their charitable projects through donations made at their concerts. The foursome is constantly challenging traditional attitudes towards classical music and bringing new audiences into the concert hall through their high-energy, engaging and surprising performances.
Hamburg-based all-female quartet Salut Salon performed last week for a crowd of flamingoes, elephants, monkeys... and journalists, in a special event at the Hamburg Zoo.
It was the ideal setting in which to launch their extensive tour of Germany, Austria and abroad, titled Ein Karneval der Tiere und andere Phantasien (Carnival of the Animals and other Fantasies), with concerts featuring music from Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Bumble bee, Piazzolla's Escualo/Shark and more; all in striking new arrangements. A new album based on the tour is planned for 2016.
This animal-friendly jaunt comes hot on the heels of Salut Salon's performance at a major Berlin cabaret festival earlier this month at the Wühlmäuse theatre, and in the wake of the ongoing success of their Four Seasons mash-up on YouTube, which is rapidly approaching 19 million views.
Salut Salon's latest live album is out now.
A bit of healthy competition on-stage has attracted 18.5 million hits on YouTube, with the ladies of Hamburg-based quartet Salut Salon engaged in a battle of musical oneupmanship.
In this must-see video, the all-too-familiar strains of 'Summer' from Vivaldi's Four Seasons ignite a cat-fight and a musical free-for-all from Mission Impossible to Mozart.
Violinists Angelika Bachmann and Iris Siegfried, pianist Anne-Monika von Twardowski and cellist Sonja Lena Schmid show themselves born entertainers and comédiennes in this high-energy performance.
They managed to keep the peace on their new live album, which roams from Schumann’s Piano Quartet and Piazzolla tangos to charming arrangements of Saint-Saëns’s Danse macabre and Carnival of the Animals; not to mention the theme from Hitchcock’s Psycho.