Awards - BBC Music Magazine Awards - The Winners

by Chris O'Reilly. 5th April 2016

A despatch from your correspondent in London this evening - I'm at the BBC Music Magazine Awards ceremony in Kings Place, where the winners of this year's awards have just been announced.

The coveted Record of the Year has gone to Antonio Pappano's studio recording of Aida on Warner Classics, starring Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Ekaterina Semenchuk and Ludovic Tézier (the disc was also one of our Top 10 Records of 2015, with our in-house reviewer describing it as 'a recording that's full of fresh insights and attention to detail whilst never sounding clinical or micro-managed').

Among the other winners are Tenebrae (with their disc of Brahms & Bruckner Motets on Signum), cellist David Watkin (whose winning recording of the Bach Cello Suites on Resonus also scooped the Baroque Instrumental prize at last year's Gramophone Awards) and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky for his two-disc collection of settings of Verlaine's poetry (read our exclusive interview with him about the project here).

We've secured special prices on all of the winning discs, and with discounts of up to 25% now is the perfect time to discover for yourself why they've been picked out for these special awards.

You can view the complete list of finalists here.

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Recording of the Year (and Opera Category-Winner)

Verdi: Aida

Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Erwin Schrott, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Ludovic Tézier; Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; Sir Antonio Pappano

'Sir Antonio Pappano knows his Verdi – as is in evidence in a performance of the Italian’s Egypt-inspired opera that is as musically brilliant as it is dramatically convincing. The orchestral playing is scintillating, the starry soloists utterly sublime.'

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Category-Winners

Orchestral

Nielsen: Symphonies Nos 1 & 3

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra; Sakari Oramo

'Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s excellent Nielsen symphony cycle shines with particular lustre in their account of the two least-known works. Both are performed with compelling symphonic purpose, No. 1 with a spring in its step and considerable charm and grandeur, while No. 3 has vigour and atmosphere.'

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Choral

Brahms & Bruckner: Motets

Tenebrae; Nigel Short

'Don’t be fooled by the compact dimensions of Bruckner’s motets. They have lofty symphonic ambitions, and Tenebrae and its enterprising conductor Nigel Short match their demands with an ease and economy that’s rarely heard, from the deepest bass to the soaring sopranos. Majestic Brahms, too, with immense power, huge dynamic range and ringing intonation.'

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Chamber

Smetana: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2

Pavel Haas Quartet

'The Pavel Haas Quartet have already set new standards with their Janácek and Dvorák. Now it’s the turn of fellow countryman Smetana, and once again the results are outstanding. Playing of real intensity and vivid detail brings out the drama and intimacy of these two highly personal quartets, and the musicians’ innate understanding for the Czech composer’s idiom shapes every nuance. It’s hard to imagine these recordings being bettered.'

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Instrumental

JS Bach: Cello Suites

David Watkin

'It’s very hard to put into words why this recording is so special. One of the finest Baroque cellists at last commits to disc great works he’s lived with for many years, knowing as he does so that these are his last recordings (Watkin suffers from a chronic skin condition relating to his fingers, preventing him from playing). This is inspirational solo Bach of the highest order, intimate and exalted, and it’s a profoundly moving achievement.'

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Concerto

Vivaldi: L’estro armonico, Op. 3

Rachel Podger; Brecon Baroque

'Brecon Baroque, founded by Rachel Podger in 2007, illuminates Vivaldi’s score in a benchmark performance. In its day, L’estro armonico (‘Harmonic Inspiration’) took Europe by storm, showing how string players could outbid opera singers in their expressiveness. To listen to this recording is to enter a brilliant, delicate dialogue between the finest artists.'

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Vocal

Green - Melodies françaises on Verlaine’s poems

Philippe Jaroussky, Jerome Ducros, Nathalie Stutzmann; Quatuor Ebène

'This labour of love from Philippe Jaroussky is a beautifully conceived and wonderfully sung collection. Jaroussky collates song settings of Verlaine, that most musical of poets, from composers as diverse as Debussy, Massenet, Charles Trenet and Varèse, along with charming rarities in an enticing treasure-trove.'

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Video

Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites (DVD)

Sophie Koch, Patricia Petibon, Véronique Gens, Sandrine Piau, Rosalind Plowright; Jérémie Rhorer, Olivier Py

'A dream cast. Blanche’s inner turmoil is where the real drama resides and Patricia Petibon masterfully conveys the complexities of her contradictory character...Plowright is suitably disturbing in the alternate ‘mad scene’ of Madame de Croissy’s death...With Jérémie Rhorer’s nuanced conducting, the Philharmonia on top form and sympathetic filming, there are no weaknesses.'

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Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites (Blu-ray)

Sophie Koch, Patricia Petibon, Véronique Gens, Sandrine Piau, Rosalind Plowright; Jérémie Rhorer, Olivier Py

'A dream cast. Blanche’s inner turmoil is where the real drama resides and Patricia Petibon masterfully conveys the complexities of her contradictory character...Plowright is suitably disturbing in the alternate ‘mad scene’ of Madame de Croissy’s death...With Jérémie Rhorer’s nuanced conducting, the Philharmonia on top form and sympathetic filming, there are no weaknesses.'

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Premiere

James Macmillan: Oboe Concerto

Nicholas Daniel, Britten Sinfonia; James Macmillan

'For James MacMillan’s 2010 Concerto, Daniel hands over the direction of the accomplished orchestra to the composer – not surprisingly, as the solo part, written for him, requires all the player’s attention and stamina.'

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Newcomer

Mozart, Ives & Verdi: String Quartets

Schumann Quartet

'Leaving their youthful credentials at the door, the Schumann Quartet captivate the senses with a radiant cantabile in the Mozart before letting rip with a no-holds-barred take on the Ives.'

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