Czech Philharmonic Orchestra nominated for Grammy Award

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra has been nominated for a grammy award for its recording of Bohuslav Martinu's Symphonies 3 and 4, with world reknown Czech conductor Jiri Belohlavek.

The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra began work on the recording in September 2003, and released it six months ago. It's now been nominated for a Grammy for Best Orchestra Performance - which is awarded both to the conductor and to the orchestra. The orchestra has had Grammy nominations for two other recordings in recent years, but it has never won the award. I asked Eva Sedlova what it was about this recording that was so special.

"We just made really good work with Mr. Jiri Belohlavek. So we are really very pleased by the nomination, and proud of it, and hope it will be successful this time."

Ms. Sedlova added that this is not the first time the orchestra has recorded Martinu.

"You know, I heard many recordings of Martinu 3 and Martinu 4 - even the orchestra recorded it many times - last time we recorded it with Vaclav Neumann I think- also a really good recording, but this recording is really exceptional. When I first listened to it, I just thought - what a fantastic recording we've made!"

The recording started out as the first of a series of the Martinu symphonies conducted by Jiri Belohlavek. Sedlova says Belohlavek is currently the best Czech conductor, and that while he is very good at Martinu, he is equally good with other composers.

But this is not the first time the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, which has been around since 1896, has been nominated for a Grammy. Over the last two years it has been nominated twice for recordings with Sir Charles Mackeras. Unfortunately the orchestra has never taken a grammy home to Prague - at least not yet. I asked Eva what she thought the chances were for next year.

"I think that we,- I hope we have a chance now. Of course when I see what a decent society we are in, I see the New York Philharmonic Orchestra - I do not know this recording I have to say - but also the others... So we will see, but we are looking forward to seeing what happens in the end."

In addition to the New York Philharmonic, the Czech ensemble is also up against the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The Grammy award winners will be announced in February of 2005. Here are some sounds from the nominated orchestral performance, from Symphony #4.