Choices and big questions

Times Staff Writer

Some good CDs have been selected by the Grammys. Many are by names big in the business and regulars to the Grammy lists. Some are obvious.

Sentiment for Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who died last summer, surely placed her recording of Peter Lieberson’s “Rilke Songs,” written for the beloved mezzo-soprano by her husband, on the best classical album list. It is also nominated for best vocal performance but not for best contemporary composition, where it certainly belongs.

Recordings worthy of their dual nominations: Michael Tilson Thomas conducting Mahler’s Seventh Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony, pianist Martha Argerich playing chamber music with first-rate friends, Rene Jacobs conducting Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito” and Osvaldo Golijov’s opera, “Ainadamar.”

Best instrumental soloist without an orchestra is the toughest race. Still, a competition among violinist Gidon Kremer’s intense performance of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas, Andras Schiff’s illuminating take on Beethoven piano sonatas and Maurizio Pollini’s Olympian rendition of Chopin’s Nocturnes is an exercise in futility.


But perhaps what is most significant about the Grammy classical nominees this year is what is missing. There is no category for opera on DVD.

Where are the hot live orchestra recordings by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and others being released for downloading?