The first Australian-produced classical vinyl for two decades has taken out Best Independent Classical Album at this year’s AIR Awards, the Australian Independent Record Labels Association’s annual awards. A collaboration between the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, the ABC Classics release pairs Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik with Greenwood’s own work Water, written during his time as the Orchestra’s Composer in Residence in 2012.
“We have chosen an outrageous combination of works that you would never consider pairing, unless it were on an LP,” said Richard Tognetti, Artistic Director of the ACO. “So consider this a curated, deliberate juxtaposition… The notion of surprise is paramount in offering these wildly contrasting works. But ‘a little night music’ is exactly what Jonny’s piece is. It’s something I would suggest you play once the sun sets, for its hypnotic drone-like structure presents something that really works best as daylight fades away…”
“This release captured the imagination of audiences at home and abroad and received rare acclaim from the international press – and I’m delighted that it has been honoured with the 2018 AIR Award,” said Toby Chadd, Executive Producer of the album. “It’s no surprise that people want a physical piece of the ACO in their homes, the large-scale vinyl format has proved to be the perfect vehicle for this brilliant orchestra.”
Water, scored for strings, flutes, keyboard, piano and two Indian tanpura, received its world premiere as part of the ACO’s UK tour in 2014. It was later heard in Australia that October. The ABC Classics LP beat out the Grigoryan Brothers’ Songs Without Words, Slava Grigoryan’s Bach: Cello Suites Volume II, Sydney Chamber Choir’s Paul Stanhope: Lux Aeterna and Kate Miller-Heidke’s Live at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Acknowledging Australia’s finest independent recordings, the AIR Awards has included a classical category in its annual awards for the past six years.