Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Among the stars

Tomorrow I'll be attending Finland's annual Emma gala, where HOL's recent CD release "Among the Leaves" is up for classical recording of the year, the only choral CD selected. It's quite an achievement for an amateur group to even be nominated in such company as Pekka Kuusisto and Soile Isokoski, especially for a quiet, reflective 60-minute program in which not much happens. Unlike the North American recording awards like the Emmy and Juno, the Emma tends not to go with the splashiest or most complex new orchestral work, but the recording that represents the richest addition to the recorded classical literature. Last year's winner was a CD of contemporary music for solo viola da gamba. So we'll see what happens. Whatever the outcome, it calls for some serious partying.

Update: As we kind of expected, we didn't bring home the prize. (And due to the virus currently violating my body, no partying was done.) The statue went to another Alba CD of symphonies by the recently departed Finnish composer Pehr Henrik Nordgren. However, the nomination itself was a strong vote of encouragement to amateur musicianship, and the heights achievable by people through their passionate dedication to what is, for all intents and purposes, just a hobby. It was a fun event, marked by an obvious slant toward the more commercial forms of music in terms of the number and somewhat redundant variety of awards presented in the popular categories. But being included at the party is always nice, as noted by presenter Kare Eskola in his invocation of the devoted listeners of "that art-shit" (a line that's funnier in Finnish). Congratulations to HOL for all their hard work!

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