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Hans Abrahamsen's 'Schnee' is nominated for a Gramophone Award 2022

Hans Abrahamsen's 'Schnee' is nominated for a Gramophone Award 2022

The new recording of Hans Abrahamsen's Schnee with the Lapland Chamber Orchestra and conductor John Storgårds has just been announced as a nominee for the Gramophone Awards 2022.

01 September 2022

'The sounds Abrahamsen craves, white and translucent across a large range of actual expression, hugely complex on the page but delectably simple to the ear, are exceptionally realised and recorded here', wrote Gramophone Magazine in a review of the new recording of Hans Abrahamsen's Schnee by the Lapland Chamber Orchestra and conductor John Storgårds, which was released in February 2022.

'[...] There’s not much point analysing what’s well phrased, beautifully played and so on in a performance of Schnee; that’s not really the point (though plenty on this recording meets both descriptions). The achievement here is more fundamental: to present Schnee impeccably, but as the ‘white’ music it is, that exists with such weightless fragility that it can almost seem a fairy tale'.

The recording has just been nominated for the prestigious Gramophone Award in the category 'Contemporary'. Read the review and see all nominees here.

A snow-covered winter marvel

Schnee was composed in 2008 and is already considered a classic of the twenty-first century. The instrumental cycle consists of five canon pairs – an hour of ghostly, feathery and poetic music. The work it begins with ice cold, whispering violin notes like the first snow flakes in the air, which later increase to reminding one of walking against the wind in swirling snow, before we are led into an enchanted fairyland that gives us a glimpse into a snow-decked eternity.

The music moves not only forwards, but backwards and in circles, and sometimes remains completely still. There is no hurrying, but great depth. As Abrahamsen himself says: 'In Schnee, a single moment is stretched as far as possible. At some point, the music disappears. There is just a breath of air left'. 

Prize-winning composer

The composer Hans Abrahamsen (b. 1952), who received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2019 among others, has attracted a lot of attention with the new recording of Schnee, especially internationally. Schnee has received a shower of top reviews, many of them from the British press. Here, the album was selected Album of the Week in The Guardian and it made it straight onto the classical charts.

The prize-winners will be announced at the Gramophone Awards in London on 4 October 2022.

  • Hans Abrahamsen