The 2022 “What a Performance!” Awards

WAP 2022My readers will note that this is a much smaller list than last year’s, down from 50 awardees to only 25. This is because of the declining content of most classical CDs, which just keep on recycling the same old-timey music we’ve heard for the past century and are generally not in the same ballpark with the great recordings of the past. In the jazz field, far too many musicians are taking it upon themselves to be Social Justice Warriors, which degrades and taints the content of their music. If you, as a musician, have a political agenda, the chances are very high that your music is going to wear thin after a few years when society continues to evolve. For this reason, I am generally opposed to the concept of using any music as a means of social commentary. Plus, there are far too many “jazz” albums that consist of sad, soft, drippy music. If I wanted to listen to funeral dirges, I’d go hang out at mortuaries or attend funerals of people I don’t even know just to get that “funeral vibe.”

But my awards, though not as prestigious, are much better than the Grammys because they are not politically or financially motivated. Most Grammy nominations, let alone winners, are paid off by huge bribes from the record companies, and nowadays both nominees and winners are geared towards Social Justice, not artistic excellence. If you just look over this year’s Grammy nominees in the classical field (let alone jazz), you’ll see what I mean. In jazz, the situation is even worse since no European jazz artists are ever nominees or winners of a Grammy. This leaves out a ton of great creators and soloists who I always consider when making my selections.

Be prepared for far less reviews from me in the following years. I may post up to three or four reviews a month, no more than that, since both the classical and jazz output nowadays has just become so boring and predictable. Anyway, here are my winners for 2022:

  1. Dupree Revisits Kapustin (Capriccio)
  2. Alexeev’s Superb Scriabin (Brilliant Classics)
  3. Bailey’s Bach, Take 2 (Octave Records)
  4. Lovano & Douglas Explore Other Worlds (Greenleaf)
  5. 3 of Medtner’s Songs Released (Brilliant Classics)
  6. MOPDtk “Celebrates” Disasters (Hot Cup)
  7. Billy Lester Plays From Scratch (no label)
  8. Steve Elcock’s Music: Mania, Dreams, Heartbreak (Toccata Classics)
  9. Mattei Sings Pettersson (Bis)
  10. Matthew Shipp’s Splendid New CD (ESP-Disk)
  11. Jason Palmer at Summit Rock (Giant Step Arts)
  12. Korstick’s Superb Beethoven Concerti (CPO)
  13. John Yao is Off-Kilter (See Tao)
  14. Norgård’s Complete Symphonies (Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra)
  15. Nurit Stark Plays 20th-Century Music (Bis)
  16. A New Album of Schulhoff’s Music (Delos)
  17. Edward Cowie’s “Streams and Particles” (Métier)
  18. Perelman’s Massive Sax Summit (Mahakala Music)
  19. Joseph Summer’s Brilliant “Hamlet” (Navona)
  20. Sophie Dunér: The One and Only (self-produced)
  21. Charles Mingus’ “Lost Album” (Resonance Records)
  22. Martin Skafte’s Piano Preludes (Toccata Classics)
  23. Krzysztof Meyer’s Orchestral Music (Dux) 
  24. Halvorsen’s Amaryllis/Belladonna (Nonesuch)
  25. Vol. 1 of Bacewicz Symphonies Released (CPO)

And that’s it until next year!

—© 2022 Lynn René Bayley

Follow me on Twitter (@Artmusiclounge) or Facebook (as Monique Musique)

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2 thoughts on “The 2022 “What a Performance!” Awards

  1. Dear Nic: I appreciate your comments. I will, of course, occasionally audition a CD of older music from time to time, but if it is not reviewed on my site you can be certain that I didn’t find it otherwise worthy. An acquaintance of mine kept trying to get me to review Michala Petri’s new CD of old classical piece, “Synergy,” but although I clearly liked her playing the music did nothing for me and her backup orchestra used that whiny, ahistoric straight tone to excess, which further alienated me. So why review it just to complain? I deeply admire Petri as an artist, but am far more interested in her performances of modern than ancient music.

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  2. Pingback: ‘Strictly Business’ CD receives ’The 2022 “What a Performance!” Awards’ | www.sophieduner.com

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