Texts were flying in from the Grammys in L.A. last night while we watched Nellie, on Baroque cello, at Forest and Main in Ambler, play an energetic concert with Musicivic Baroque. While The Arc in the Sky with The Crossing did not win for Best Choral Performance (three years in a row for The Crossing was perhaps asking too much!), Canticle did get in on the Grammy action when Blanton Alspaugh, who produced it with Soundmirror, won the 2020 GRAMMY Classical Producer of the Year.
The CD of Canticle and Alleluia is performed by Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, conducted by Craig Hella Johnson. VAE also commissioned Canticle, the 65-minute setting of St. John of the Cross for SATB, three cellos, and one percussionist playing vibraphone, tambourine, and bass drum. I can’t say enough about how Craig lovingly put this together, what wonderful singing VAE did for this, and what exquisite playing is on the CD from cellists Tom Guth, Mark Kosmala, Michaela Hibbard, and percussionist Rusty Burge.
That would certainly have been enough, but later that night, just before turning in, I saw that A Birch in Winter, the CD including Where Flames a Word, won the 2020 Estonian Recording of the Year. David Puderbaugh led Voces Musicales (now Voces Tallinn) on this CD. It’s a gorgeous recording with lovely music by Estonian composers and two works, including the title track, by Greg Brown.
And Nellie was terrific.