Sir Andrew Davis Receives 2015 Gramophone Music Award

09.18.15
Gramophone

Congratulations to Sir Andrew Davis along with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Mezzo-Soprano Sarah Connolly, Tenor Stuart Skelton and Bass David Soar, on winning a 2015 Gramophone Choral Recording Award for their recording of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and Sea Pictures. The awards were presented on September 17, 2015 at St John's Smith Square. View all of the winners on Gramophone’s website and read their review of “Elgar The Dream of Gerontius. Sea Pictures” below. 

ELGAR Sea Pictures. Dream of Gerontius

This is unquestionably the strongest Gerontius to have come my way since Sir Mark Elder’s Gramophone Award-winning Hallé account (1/09). A superbly paced and lovingly shaped Prelude immediately proclaims Sir Andrew Davis’s formidable credentials in this repertoire; indeed, his patient and scrupulously observant conception of the whole work evinces a selfless authority, wisdom and instinctive ebb and flow, and he certainly secures a splendidly disciplined and consistently fervent response from his massed BBC Symphony forces.

As for the vocal team, Stuart Skelton’s stamina, dramatic range and ringing, Vickers-like tone are a tremendous asset [...] he brings exactly the right awe-struck hush to ‘Novissima hora est’ and really shines in the oratorio’s later stages. David Soar, too, sings with lofty projection and unstinting eloquence (his Angel of the Agony is an especially pleasing achievement). Arguably best of all, though, is Sarah Connolly, who brings a deeply affecting radiance, sense of wonder and intelligence to everything she does.

Disc 2 also contains a majestic performance of the Gerontius Prelude with its concert ending, while the main offering is preceded by a wholly sympathetic rendering of Sea Pictures, which (once again) finds Connolly in glorious voice. Davis and the BBC SO play their full part in a performance to rival such distinguished forebears as the Baker/Barbirolli (EMI), Greevy/Handley (CfP) and, yes, Connolly’s own conspicuously fresh and rewarding interpretation with Simon Wright and the Bournemouth SO (Naxos, 12/06). Dare we look forward to The Kingdom and The Apostles from this same source? 

Read the rest of the review here