“Pure Sound” International Award winners announced

On September 3, 2021, the Moscow Theater “School of Modern Drama” hosted the solemn ceremony of awarding the II International Award “Pure Sound” for the best audio recording of works of Russian academic music. Anyone could watch the ceremony and the gala concert: the event was broadcast online on culture.ru and on the website of the founder of the award – Russian Musical Union.

The “Pure Sound” Award is held every two years: for the first time, the creators of the best releases dedicated to Russian academic music were awarded in 2019. Over 150 applications from Russian and foreign copyright holders were received for the 2020–2021 competition. Based on the results of the qualifying stage, 40 releases were selected to the shortlist.

The winners were determined by the voting of the final stage jury chaired by the composer, People’s Artist of Russia Alexander Tchaikovsky. The jury members – eminent figures of culture and art – chose the 24 best releases, three in each of the eight nominations: Opera, Choral Works, Orchestral Music, Chamber Vocal Music, Chamber Instrumental Ensemble Music, Chamber Instrumental Solo Music, Restoration of Archival Audio Recordings, Mixed Nomination (a collection of audio recordings with various performers).

The awards ceremony at the School of Modern Drama Theater was opened by Alexander Klevitsky, composer, conductor, Honored Artist of Russia, General Director of the Russian Musical Union, and Maria Soboleva, sound engineer, professor of Russian State University of Cinematography (VGIK) and the Moscow Conservatory, Chairman of the Guild of Sound Engineers of Russian Musical Union.

Alexander Klevitsky notes: “Pure Sound is a unique project: it was originally conceived in order to focus on audio recordings of Russian academic music. This is the first such award in our country. Thanks to the project, we are discovering records of the highest quality, on which magnificent works of Russian composers, both classics and our contemporaries, sound. This time the award again confirmed its international status: among the contenders for the award were releases of not only Russian, but also foreign record companies. I am sure that the geography of the competition will expand.”

To the applause of the audience, awards and cash prizes were given to the creators of the winning releases – sound engineers, producers, heads of music publishing houses, performers, authors of works. The first-degree laureates in each nomination were awarded statuettes of the prize, which were designed and created by the famous sculptor, graphic artist and painter Vasily Selivanov.

The ceremony was attended by Natalia Ignatenko, Director General of the Elena Obraztsova Foundation, the Charitable Foundation for the Support of Musical Arts; Dmitry Sibirtsev, Director of the Moscow Chamber Choir of Vladimir Minin; Artistic Director of the Children’s Musical Theater of a Young Actor and the Children’s Musical Theater “Impromptu”, Honored Artist of Russia Alexander Fedorov; Erdo Groot, Director of the recording company Polyhymnia International (Netherlands); Doctor of Arts, Professor of the Moscow Conservatory, Editor-in-Chief of the PianoForum magazine, Honored Artist of Russia Vsevolod Zaderatsky, and others.

Outstanding Russian artists performed at the Award Gala Concert: the OpensoundOrchestra contemporary music orchestra under the direction of Stanislav Malyshev; Chamber Choir of the Moscow Conservatory under the direction of Professor Alexander Solovyov; pianist, Honored Artist of Russia Ekaterina Mechetina; opera singer, Honored Artist of the Republic of Bashkortostan Elena Terentyeva, and others. The musicians performed works by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Mikael Tariverdiev, Dmitry Shostakovich, Alexander Borodin and Sergei Rachmaninoff, as well as works by contemporary composers – Alexander Klevitsky, Alexey Aiga, Ayrat Ichmuratov and Nastasya Khrushcheva. Actor, TV presenter Yulian Makarov and pianist Ekaterina Mechetina hosted the concert and the Award Ceremony.

Erdo Groot, Director of Polyhymnia International record company, said: “It is a great pleasure to be at this ceremony in person, to stand on stage on this wonderful evening and present the nominees. I would like to express my admiration for the organizers of the event. Having worked in Russia in the field of sound recording, I know that here the quality and performance of the musicians is at the highest level. This year the quality of all sound recordings has improved significantly, I am ready to listen to them again and again”.

The recipients of the awards also shared their impressions. Thus, the General Director and Artistic Director of the Russian State Music TV and Radio Center Irina Gerasimova, who was awarded the prize for the release in the nomination “Orchestral Music”, noted: “The sensations are absolutely magical. It is a great joy to receive an award from our colleagues; it is the recognition and the highest appreciation of our work. I am a radio employee, for us recording is the main way to bring all the best to the listener. “Pure Sound” is an important award for those behind the scenes, especially for sound engineers. Highly professional sound engineers are in great need. The Award raises the status of this profession and identifies those who know and do their job very well.”

Laureate release applicants who were unable to attend the ceremony in person sent video messages to the organizers and viewers of the Award. In particular, the conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra Arthur Arnold, who presented the release “Mosolov – Symphony No. 5 & Harp Concerto” in the Orchestral Music category, said: “It is a great honor for me to be among the winners of the “Pure Sound” Award. I thank the members of the jury for having noted the important works of Alexander Mosolov. I would like to take a moment to share with you my love for Russian music. This is such an amazing musical tradition and history, and Alexander Mosolov is a part of it. There is still a lot of work ahead for recording. And this is a great journey! Thank you all involved!”

Greetings were also sent by Christian Hoeppner, General Secretary of the German Musical Council – partner of the Award: “The German Musical Council congratulates Russian Musical Union and active participants of the “Pure Sound” Award with this excellent example of creative work. These days, it is more important than ever to support musicians and popularize their work. Best wishes from Berlin.”

In addition to the main awards, special prizes were awarded from the partners of the award – the studio complex CineLab and the German company Neumann.

Also the project partners were: National Found for Copyright Holders’ Support, Orpheus Radio Station, “Novy Vek” Bank, Yamaha Music Russia, International Musical Council (IMC), European Musical Council (EMC), the “Radio Rossii” (Radio Russia) radio station, Russian Congress of Sound Engineers of Music Programs, the Kultura newspaper, the Kulturomania information portal, the InterMedia news agency, the Musical Life magazine, the Musical Klondike magazine.

114,000 people watched the online broadcast of the Awards Ceremony and Gala Concert.

The following audio recordings became laureates of the II International “Pure Sound” Award:

Nomination: Opera

Laureate I Degree
Dmitri Kourliandski – Octavia. Trepanation
Authors: Dmitry Kourliandski, Boris Yukhananov
Performers: Questa Musica Ensemble, Sergey Malinin, Alexey Kokhanov, Arina Zvereva, Vasily Korostylev, Yuri Duvanov, Oleg Makarov
Sound engineer: Alexander Mikhlin
Producer: Sergey Krasin

Laureate II Degree
Media Opera “Planet P”
Authors: Iraida Yusupova, Vera Pavlova
Performers: conductor Anastasia Braudo, soloists Natalya Pavlova, Pavel Bykov, Alisa Gitsba, ensemble of soloists of the orchestra “New Russia”
Sound engineer: Dmitry Misailov
Producer: Iraida Yusupova
Publisher: Iraida Yusupova

Laureate III Degree
Alexander Manotskov – 52
Authors: Alexander Manotskov, Lev Rubinstein
Performers: Victoria Artyukhova, Anna Vishnyakova, Elena Belkina, Alexander Zakharenko, Vladimir Rozanov, Elena Raskova
Sound engineers: Alexey Titov, Ruslan Zaypold
Producer: Sergey Krasin

Nomination: Choral Works

Laureate I Degree
Russian Christmas. Russian choral music from lowercase singing to the 20th century
Authors: Vasily Titov, Vasily Gusev, Dmitry Bortnyansky, Sergei Rachmaninov, Sergei Taneyev, Georgy Sviridov, Igor Stravinsky, Galina Grigorieva, Alfred Schnittke, Nikolai Leontovich
Performers: Vocal Ensemble INTRADA, conductor Ekaterina Antonenko
Sound engineers: Maria Soboleva, Mikhail Spassky, Elena Sych
Producer: Evgeny Platonov
Publisher: Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory

Laureate II Degree
Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov: Choral music. Full collection of original choral compositions, arrangements of Russian folk songs
Author: Anatoly Lyadov
Performers: The Academy of Russian Music Chamber Choir, conductor Ivan Nikiforchin, Dmitry Korostelev, Alexey Shevchenko, Maria Uspenskaya, Yulia Likhacheva, Nika Ryabchinenko, Kirill Panfilov, Ksenia Abaimova
Sound engineer: Ilya Dontsov
Producers: Igor Prokhorov, Yuri Abdokov
Publisher: Toccata Classics

Laureate III Degree
Anthology of Contemporary Choral Music by Russian Composers. Volume 2. St. Petersburg. The works of S. Slonimsky
Author: Sergey Slonimsky
Performers: Tatiana Mineeva (soprano); Polina Shamaeva (mezzo-soprano); Andrey Bashkov (tenor); Dmitry Kuznetsov (bass); conductor – Lev Kontorovich, Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Conservatory, Academic Bolshoi Choir “Masters of Choral Singing”, Chamber Choir of the Moscow Conservatory, Tula State Choir, chief conductor – Georgy Avgustinovich, chief choirmaster – Sergei Sidorenko, artistic director of choirs – Alexander Solovyov
Sound engineers: Svetlana Spasskaya, Ruslana Oreshnikova
Producer: Russian Union of Composers
Publisher: JSC “Firma Melodiya”

Nomination: Orchestral Music

Laureate I Degree
Reviving the legacy of Russian composers. Leonid Polovinkin
Author: Leonid Polovinkin
Performers: Radio Orpheus Symphony Orchestra, conductor Sergei Kondrashev; Olga Ionova (soprano)
Sound engineer: Alexander Volkov
Producer: Oksana Seryozhenko
Publisher: Russian State Music TV and Radio Center

Laureate II Degree
Mosolov – Symphony No. 5 & Harp Concerto
Author: Alexander Mosolov
Performers: Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Arthur Arnold (сonductor), Taylor Fleshman (harp)
Sound engineers: Maria Soboleva, Elena Sych
Producer: Max Gutbrod
Publisher: Naxos

Laureate III Degree
Alexander Sladkovsky, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra – Tchaikovsky 2020
Author: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Performers: State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan conducted by Alexander Sladkovsky; soloists Boris Berezovsky, Miroslav Kultyshev, Maxim Mogilevsky, Alexander Malofeev, Boris Andrianov, Pavel Milyukov
Sound engineer: Pavel Lavrenenkov
Producer: Alexey Pilyugin
Publisher: Sony Music Entertainment Russia

Nomination: Chamber Vocal Music

Laureate I Degree
Sergei Rachmaninoff. Romances
Author: Sergei Rachmaninoff
Performers: Lyubov Petrova (soprano), Elena Savelyeva (piano)
Sound engineers: Mikhail Spassky, Elena Sych
Producer: Evgeny Platonov
Publisher: Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory

Laureate II Degree
Vsevolod P. Zaderatsky. Vocal cycle “Poem about a Russian soldier”
Author: Vsevolod P. Zaderatsky.
Performers: Vasily Sokolov, Valentina Zagadkina
Sound engineer: Ilya Karpov
Producers: Ekaterina Marova, Elena Udovitskaya
Publisher: Association (Union) “Musical Planet”

Laureate III Degree
Medtner: ‘Incantation’ Complete Songs Volume 1
Author: Nikolai Medtner
Performers: Ekaterina Levental, Frank Peters
Sound engineer: Frerik de Jong
Producers: Ekaterina Levental, Frank Peters
Publisher: Brilliant Classics

Nomination: Chamber instrumental music, ensemble

Laureate I Degree
Pavel Karmanov: Music for Alexey Lyubimov
Author: Pavel Karmanov
Performers: Alexey Lyubimov, OpensoundOrchestra
Sound engineer: Mikhail Spassky
Producer: Karina Abramyan
Publisher: JSC “Firma Melodiya”

Laureate II Degree
Divertissement Chamber Orchestra – White Balance
Authors: Nastasya Khrushcheva, Sergey Akhunov, Anatoly Korolev
Performer: Chamber Orchestra “Divertissement”
Sound engineer: Alexey Barashkin
Producer: Sergey Krasin

Laureate III Degree
Yuri Butsko. Chamber works
Author: Yuri Butsko
Performers: Anna Savkina (violin), Evgeny Rumyantsev (cello), Yulia Kupriyanova (piano)
Sound engineer: Ruslana Oreshnikova
Producer: Evgeny Platonov
Publisher: Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory

Nomination: Chamber instrumental music, solo

Laureate I Degree
Sound Review 2/6
Authors: Sofia Gubaidulina, Edison Denisov, Arvo Pärt, Vladimir Martynov, Valentin Silvestrov, Nikolay Karetnikov, Alexander Vustin, Dmitry Smirnov, Vladimir Tarnopolsky
Performer: Mikhail Dubov
Sound engineer: Mikhail Spassky
Producer: Russian Union of Composers
Publisher: JSC “Firma Melodiya”

Laureate II Degree
Like Breath. Carillon improvisations
Author: Olesya Rostovskaya
Performer: Olesya Rostovskaya
Sound engineer: Alexey Pogarsky
Producer: Olesya Rostovskaya
Publisher: Creative Association “Artes Mirabiles”

Laureate III Degree
Balakirev Complete Piano Works 4: Scherzi and Other Works
Author: Mily Balakirev
Performer: Nicholas Walker
Sound engineer: Ben Connellan
Producer: Jeremy Hayes
Publisher: Naxos Grand Piano

Nomination: Restoration of Archival Audio Recordings

Laureate I Degree
Shostakovich plays Shostakovich (CD No. 4)
Author: Dmitry Shostakovich
Performers: Dmitry Shostakovich, David Oistrakh, Milos Sadlo, Beethoven Quartet
Sound engineer: Alexander Grossman (tracks 5-9)
Sound engineer-restorer: Nadezhda Radugina
Producer: JSC “Firma Melodiya”
Publisher: JSC “Firma Melodiya”

Laureate II Degree
Nikolay Karetnikov. Symphony No. 4
Author: Nikolay Karetnikov
Performers: State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR Ministry of Culture, conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Sound engineer: Igor Veprintsev
Sound engineer-restorer: Elena Barykina
Producer: JSC “Firma Melodiya”
Publisher: JSC “Firma Melodiya”

Laureate III Degree
Svyatoslav Richter in ensembles
Authors: Nikolay Myaskovsky, Dmitry Shostakovich
Performers: Svyatoslav Richter (piano), Mstislav Rostropovich (cello); Borodin Quartet: Rostislav Dubinsky (violin I), Yaroslav Alexandrov (violin II), Dmitry Shebalin (viola), Valentin Berlinsky (cello)
Sound engineer-restorer: Elena Doinikova
Producer: Evgeny Platonov
Publisher: Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory

Mixed nomination

Laureate I Degree
German Galynin. The first complete anthology of chamber orchestral scores and string ensembles
Author: German Galynin
Performers: Chamber Orchestra “Academy of Russian Music”, conductor Ivan Nikiforchin; Anastasia Latysheva, Arina Minaeva, Anastasia Benchich, Ksenia Kharitonova, Anna Shcherbakova
Sound engineer: Ilya Dontsov
Producers: Igor Prokhorov, Yuri Abdokov
Publisher: Toccata Classics

Laureate II Degree
The “Blue Bird” ballet based on the play by Maurice Maeterlinck
Authors: Ilya Sats, Efrem Podgaits
Performers: Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Moscow State Academic Children’s Musical Theater named after Natalia Sats, conductor Konstantin Khvatynets
Sound engineer: Maria Shokina
Producer: Moscow State Academic Children’s Musical Theater named after N.I. Sats
Publisher: Moscow State Academic Children’s Musical Theater named after N.I. Sats

Laureate III Degree
Sound Review 4/6
Authors: Natalia Prokopenko, Nikolay Popov, Anton Safronov, Elmir Nizamov, Alexey Sysoev, Alina Podzorova, Oleg Gudachev
Performer: Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble
Sound engineer: Mikhail Spassky
Producer: Russian Union of Composers
Publisher: JSC “Firma Melodiya”

Special prize of the studio complex CineLab

Byzantine Liturgy (Athos tradition of Byzantine chants)
Performer: Byzantine choir “Axion Estin” of the Nikolo-Malitsky monastery in Tver
Sound engineer: Pavel Timofeev
Producer: Anton Yakovlev
Publisher: ReachSound.Art

Special prize of Neumann company

Max Ananyev – Metaphor
Author: Maxim Ananiev
Performer: Maxim Ananiev
Sound engineer: Maxim Ananiev
Producer: Maxim Ananyev
Publisher: Max Ananyev