The same old faces shall have prizes

The same old faces shall have prizes


norman lebrecht

September 03, 2020

The Germans have announced this year’s Opus Klassik prizes.

Inevitably, Anne-Sophie Mutter is intrumentalist of the year, Mirga is conductor of the year, Kaufmann comes top in the category ‘classics without borders’, and so on.

Can anyone see the point?



  • Bratsche brat says:

    The point? Inflate Mutter’s ego even more, to see if she will burst like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka?

    • Ralph Bateman says:

      She can buy herself some lessons with the prize money.

    • F. P. Walter says:

      Based on hearing her twice in recital, I’d call Mutter a marvelous and unique violinist–she has a warm, round sound like nobody else’s today. She deserves the admiration.

      • Fiddlist says:

        True, F.P. Walter, but we’ve known that about Mutter for many decades now. Why keep awarding the most awarded, when there are so many other talented people out there?

        It reminds me of watching Bezos’ net worth go over $200 billion USD, for example, and seeing entire stock markets reach near record highs, while unemployment levels are at record highs and we’re seeing massive recessions. It’s very frustrating.

  • Gustavo says:

    “Der Teufel scheißt immer auf den größten Haufen.”

    Also known as the Matthew effect:

  • Derek says:

    Mirga is not an old face!

    She is given the award for her excellent Weinberg recordings with the CBSO and Kremerata Baltica.

  • Doug says:

    Now do you see why CAMI bit the dust? The “industry” is not out to foster an honorable tradition for future generations because it enriches our lives and forms a foundation of civilization. The “industry” seeks to emulate the Hollywood model and expects they will reap the same level of enrichment for the sole benefit of their individual base existence. *spit*

    • Peter San Diego says:

      I hadn’t realized that exploiting star power is a new phenomenon in classical music. I wonder what Paganini would have thought…

  • James Weiss says:

    It gets all rather tiresome, doesn’t it?

  • Listener says:

    Where is Ivo Pogorelich’s new album among the winners?

  • Rab C Nesbitt says:

    ASM a bit long in the tooth, a former von Carry on Babe a glance on Presto CD shows few if any Building a Library recommendations. Those John Williams CDs do not do her any good at all.

    Here is what a real fiddle player can do. Paul Anderson, Cradle Song James Scott Skinner.

  • Tamino says:

    People who care about music do not care about faces much. New, old, who cares? Are you in it for the music, old man?

  • Gustavo says:

    Echoes of the same old prize…

  • Bruce says:

    The point: to establish themselves as having good taste by agreeing with popular opinion, in the interest of staying relevant. See? We like Mutter and Kaufmann, too! (If they had to choose a pianist it would probably be Argerich — or maybe Trifonov, to show that they’re young and adventurous.)

    It’s the same basic idea as programming “all Beethoven, all the time” as a way to stay relevant, i.e. to ensure that the people who already buy tickets keep buying tickets.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Thank God it’s status quo.

  • Garech de Brun says:

    Yes it reminds me of Wellington at Waterloo. They came on in the same old way and we defeated them in the same old way. They play in the same old way from Albinoni to Zelenka, they need to learn from Irish trad players. The modern classical style is one size fits all. A few slip jigs, slow airs and hornpipes would sort them out, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Donegal style etc.

  • NN says:

    Calling her here an old face, you seem to already getting tired of Mirga…

  • Nick2 says:

    There is zero point! It’s as ridiculous as the triennial Birgit Nilsson prize of US$1 million going only to established and very rich individuals and organisarions. If there was an addendum to these idiotic prizes that they had to be donated to groups of talented young artists near the start of their careers, there might be a point. But why not give them to younger less established artists in the first place! The whole system needs a complete overhaul.

  • Deutschland uber alles says:

    Anne-Sophie Mutter is boring.
    Has been boring for decades, typical overhyped, German.

    Isabelle Faust is loads better.