Annual Awards

The annual committee of the PdSK decides on the ten Annual Awards, recognizing the best productions of the past year. The committee consists of a rotating cast of ten jurors from various expert juries. Each juror of the PdSK can nominate productions for the Annual Awards. Annual awards are awarded to the winners as part of public concerts or literary readings (in the field of spoken word). From 2014 onward, the Long Lists of Annual Awards can be found on the same page as each year’s award winners.

Annual Awards

Le Concert Spirituel, Hervé Niquet

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier: Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse (Ballet comique en trois actes). Mathias Vidal, Jean-Gabriel Saint-Martin, Chantal Santon-Jeffery, Nicolas Brooymans, Camille Poul, Charles Barbier, Le Concert Spirituel, Hervé Niquet. Château de Versailles Spectacles CVS075 (Note 1)

They have done it again – lucky us! Through the revelry of Joseph Bodin Boismortier’s Don Quixote (libretto: Charles-Simon Favart), a fast-paced slapstick comedy from 1743, Hervé Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel shook up the French early music scene in 2015. During the Corona crisis, the chorus and ensemble took on the three-act opera for a second time, in the empty Versailles Theatre – with mature expertise, heady pleasure and six wonderful solo voices that let this firecracker from a little-known contemporary of Rameau and Bach sparkle in the brightest of colours. Mini arias and burlesque chanting burst out by the minute, along with stunningly rocking, delightfully off-key (parody) numbers (including four bassoons!). This is a baroque sketch parade, luridly sparkling, of mischievous madness, danceably turbulent, which still serves its purpose wonderfully today – as a rousing tonic against the gloom. What a discovery! For the annual committee: Albrecht Thiemann

Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff & Lars Vogt

Franz Schubert: Piano Trios Nos. 1 D 898 & 2 D 929, Notturno D 897, Rondo D 895, Arpeggione Sonata D 821. Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt. 2 CD, Ondine ODE 1394-2D (Naxos)

For eternity. Tanja and Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt put their symbiotic friendship on the line for Schubert’s piano trios, it seems; together they are able to create something that would be separately unattainable. With fullest risk and hearts exposed, they share pulse, fear and final breath. No phrasing is less than perfectly placed, but the wonder is this sense of flowing-through, to which one feels invited as a listener. United in friendship, through the now and then and never again, they prepare together for the final farewell. The booklet describes in words what the music says even more comprehensively. Crystal clear, touchingly tender, compassionate. But it does not wholly define the miracle of this recording. It is simultaneously a snapshot of three exceptional artists, an ending and a moment of suspended animation. What happiness it is to be able to hear a first touch, the greatest love and the moment of drifting away on a recording again and again. For the annual committee: Julia Kaiser

London Brew

2 CD/2 LP, Concord Records 008880 72458697 (Universal)

The current jazz scene in London is vital and vibrant. Players like Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia or Theon Cross bring the local scene to boiling point and make waves all over the world. Bursting with self-confidence, equipped with an amazing musicality and a wide stylistic range, this scene is always ready for new challenges. This is also the case with this London Brew project, named with a nod to the epochal double album »Bitches Brew« by trumpeter Miles Davis from 1970. The all-star band assembled especially for this project has absorbed the spirit of that time, with unmistakable references to Davis’ musical cosmos. However, no music is replayed or preserved here. Inspired by loops and samples from the original, a highly intense, independent sound develops. Hypnotising, full of fire and irrepressible energy. It is a pleasure to follow these extended sound journeys. For the annual committee: Matthias Wegner

Monika Roscher Bigband

Witchy Activities And The Maple Death
CD/2 LP, Zenna Records ZEN003CD (Membran)

Big Bands have changed. Yesteryear’s entertainment orchestras have become flexible ensembles with a range of sound colours, open to new styles, with an expressive spectrum that reaches far beyond the narrow realm of jazzy modernism. Monika Roscher’s big band is a brilliant avant garde example of this. The Munich bandleader, composer, guitarist and singer draws upon orchestral opulence as well as rock-inspired intensity. She tells musical stories, lets sound fantasies roam and inspires her ensemble. Founded in 2011, her Big Band has evolved through stress-filled early stages to improvisational self-assurance. This develops a witty artistic maturity with her third, self-produced album »Witchy Activities And The Maple Death«. This is up-to-the-minute ensemble jazz that is also a fascinatingly stylish statement by an outstanding big band. For the annual committee: Ralf Dombrowski

Souad Massi

CD/LP, Wrasse WRA 4817937 (harmonia mundi/Bertus)

Souad Massi, born in 1972, is an Algerian-French singer with a sublime voice and great musicality. Her latest album testifies to a strong personality that absolutely refuses to be confined. The eleven songs are stylistically diverse, somewhere between North Africa, to the Sahel, Southwest Europe and South America, with a pinch of rock music and American folk. This mixture is irresistible and absolutely liberating. Souad Massi takes the listener on her journey and asks burningly relevant questions. The lyrics in Arabic and French were written during the pandemic and deal with fundamental problems and fears. They are immediate and inescapable. But at the same time, catchy melodies create a confidence-building atmosphere that leaves no one alone. »Sequana« is an intelligent album full of subtleties and grandiose music. For the annual committee: Sabrina Palm


LP/Digital, Low Lying Records LLR LP 001 (Direct Sales)

There was a time when clubs had chill-out areas. Magical zones where you could retreat from the dance floor to rest your body, worn out from hours of dancing, on mattresses, share a joint with a stranger and let yourself be lulled in time with the slowly billowing smoke by a sound that was as languid as it was psychedelic. It is precisely this time, at the end of the 1990s, that a.s.o. conjures up with its self-titled debut album. When Berlin-based producer Lewie Day, known for his discoid house productions as Tornado Wallace, met Australian singer-songwriter Alia Seror-O’Neill, they initially gathered their combined love for Dream Pop, Shoe Gaze and Trip Hop into a shared playlist: Madonna in her »Ray of Light« era, Enya, The Chemical Brothers, Primal Scream, Suzanne Kraft. Following this tradition, a.s.o. finds a sound that is as mesmerising as it is unique, boldly pulling the tempo back in an era of hyper-acceleration. For the annual committee: Laura Aha

Lucrecia Dalt

CD/LP, Rvng Intl. RVNGNL85 (Cargo)

There are worse places for a being from another galaxy to land on Earth than the summit of Mount Galatzó in Mallorca. The alien Preta – embodied by the Colombian singer, producer and conceptual artist Lucrecia Dalt – explores this world, which is foreign to her, in her own way: she licks stones, notes almost scientifically in her song lyrics that it smells of ozone and dances with a stranger until the sun goes down. On »¡Ay!« Lucrecia Dalt explores the Latin American music of her childhood and creates nostalgic sci-fi folklore. Her artful productions cannot be clearly located in time or region – a clever trick with which Dalt expands the spectrum of associations commonly attributed to Latin American music in the West. Dalt’s folklore oscillates between childhood longing and abstraction and shows that traditional music does not have to sound static or outdated, but can represent a kaleidoscope through which its own identity is allowed to flash up in ever new forms. For the annual committee: Laura Aha

The Düsseldorf Düsterboys

Duo Duo
CD/LP, Staatsakt AKTCD890 (Bertus)

Less is more again. The quartet that formed in Essen (!) in 2012 recently became a duo – and nothing is missing. That might sound strange, but it’s true. The two DD protagonists Peter Rubel and Pedro Goncalves Crescenti don’t need much to make special music. Two guitars and two voices form the foundation. Add to that simple, mostly ambiguous lyrics that oscillate between dadaism, naivety and kitchen philosophy. The rest is playfulness, for example when a rickety piano is heard or strange retro sounds creep into some songs. Musically, »Duo Duo« is the epitome of escapism and eclecticism. Here a portion of anti-folk, there a fragile samba aesthetic, then again a slightly unfinished minimalist pop song. A delicate, intoxicating lightness of foot with a sympathetic melancholy characterises the basic conduct of this pleasantly decelerated record. »Duo Duo« is an album that might seem unexciting at first glance, but which has many thrilling moments in store. For the annual committee: Matthias Wegner

Händl Klaus

In memory of Rachèle Moser-Schiffmann. Julia Gschnitzer, Jasmin Mairhofer a.o., Percussion: Andreas Schiffer. Direction: Martin Sailer. Stream, ORF 2022

With his radio play »Zrugg«, Händl Klaus has created a masterpiece of dialect and dialectic. Very old and very young people talk – and think – in Tyrolean dialect about a yesterday that is sometimes darkly blurred, and sometimes very concrete. The common thread, idiosyncratically spun: A poet searches for the existential word that has slipped his mind, and everyone tries to help him with this memory work. The result is a tapestry of stories and thoughts, subtly woven and wonderfully poetic. In a word: ingenious! For the annual committee: Jörn Florian Fuchs

Symbol image © Axelator at English Wikipedia

Werner Fritsch

»Mixing Memory & Desire«
Angela Winkler, Ilse Ritter, Sylvester Groth, Nuri Singer a.o., Music: Werner Cee. Direction: Werner Fritsch. Stream, SWR 2022

Werner Fritsch is a master of diversity. In his lightning-fast, highly poetic, often wonderfully bizarre works for radio, film and stage, Fritsch unfurls a panopticon of intoxicating poetry, always strongly autobiographical. »Mixing Memory & Desire« effortlessly combines the search for the sacred in asceticism with veneration for Jimi Hendrix, and a love of the Upper Palatinate dialect with the kind of High German associated with traumatic school drills. At times wondrous, gentle images and thoughts snow down from the author’s heaven of ideas, at other times there are storms and hail. Violent flashes of association pass through bone and marrow and into the heart and mind of the listener. A masterpiece! For the annual committee: Jörn Florian Fuchs

Photo: Actress Ilse Ritter and director Werner Fritsch during the recording sessions. © Werner Fritsch