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 Awards  2014 Presto Discs of the Year

2014 Presto Discs of the YearThis year we have decided to create our own Presto Classical 2014 Discs of the Year. After many hours of discussion and debate we managed to produce a list of 100 finalists.

From there we went on to decide on our top 10 – these we'll call our 2014 Disc of the Year Winners.

There are some really great recordings and it is well worth browsing through the full list of all the finalists.

Winners

Adams, J: The Gospel According To The Other Mary

John Adams' controversial new work was commissioned by Gustavo Dudamel and sets texts in English and Spanish that seek to show the Gospel story through the eyes of its less significant players, Martha and Mary Magdalene. Written in collaboration with director Peter Sellars, it's a challenging and bold masterpiece for the Twenty-irst Century.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

CPE Bach: Magnificat

Among the last works he ever wrote, the Magnificat and Heilig (a large-scale motet for double choir) show CPE Bach at his most inventive. A stellar lineup of soloists including soprano Elizabeth Watts, together with the RIAS Kammerchor and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and under the baton of Hans-Christoph Rademann, make the case for these striking works.

Available Format: CD

Beethoven: Cello Sonatas

Steven Isserlis and Robert Levin have been collaborating in chamber music for so long that the mere juxtaposition of their names is enough to signal something worth listening to. Here, in their long-awaited set of Beethoven's Cello Sonatas (including the three sets of Variations and the arrangement of the Horn Sonata), they don't disappoint; and the use of a fortepiano rather than a modern grand is the icing on the cake.

Available Format: CD

Benjamin Grosvenor: Dances

An imaginative programme from young star pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, this disc (as its name suggests) takes the form of a survey of dance-inspired music from Bach's Partita No. 4 to Morton Gould's Boogie-Woogie Etude.

Available Format: CD

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 92, 93, 97, 98 & 99

The late Colin Davis has long been acknowledged as an expert in all things Haydn, and his collection of late Haydn symphonies with the LSO (recorded in 2010-11) clearly shows how well-deserved this reputation is. By turns refined, tender, jolly and more, they're delightfully vivid performances of some of Haydn's most forward-looking works.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Martha Argerich & Daniel Barenboim: Piano Duos

A fascinating and long-awaited reunion - Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim's first joint recital for 15 years - this album is centred around the two-piano version of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. The soundworld is, unsurprisingly, utterly different in this incarnation, but the performance certainly convinces. Mozart's Duo Sonata K448 and Schubert's Variations D813 complete the lineup.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Porpora: Il Maestro

Franco Fagioli has been one of the standard-bearers of the recent countertenor resurgence - just one of several names that have been championing the castrato repertoire of the Eighteenth Century. Nicola Porpora, who taught both Caffarelli and Farinelli, knew better than most how best to write for these voices, and this disc pays tribute to his compositional genius.

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

A Scheherazade that really plays up the Oriental elements - the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic don't shy away from raw string playing and a forthright percussion sound, while also incorporating Middle Eastern instruments into Rimsky-Korsakov's exotic fantasy. Also included are some short works by Turkish composers and an orchestrated version of Balakirev's fearsomely difficult piano work, Islamey.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Wagner: Parsifal (DVD)

Indisputably today's pre-eminent tenor, Jonas Kaufmann shows what he's made of in this Parsifal from the Met in 2013 - and with Katarina Dalayman, Peter Mattei and René Pape on board too as Kunrdy, Amfortas and Gurnemanz respectively, it's a performance to be treasured. Francois Girard's staging, at times grim and even oppressive, serves to highlight the redemptive themes of the opera.

Available Format: DVD Video

Wagner: Parsifal (Blu-ray)

Available Format: Blu-ray

Walton: Symphony No. 1 & Violin Concerto

Perhaps William Walton's most significant orchestral works, brought together on one disc. The Symphony was an instant, but also a sustained, success that dispelled any lingering doubts that there may have been about Walton's calibre as a composer; the Violin Concerto was a special commission from the legendary virtuoso Jascha Heifetz, in whose footsteps (ably accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner) Tasmin Little treads with fearless technique.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Finalists

CPE Bach: Württemberg Sonatas

Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord)

Available Format: CD

Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232

Lydia Teuscher (soprano), Ida Falk Winland (soprano), Tim Mead (countertenor), Samuel Boden (tenor), Neal Davies (bass), Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

Available Format: CD

Bach, J S: Partitas Nos. 1-6, BWV825-830

Igor Levit (piano)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245

Mark Padmore (Evangelist), Camilla Tilling (soprano), Magdalena Kožená (mezzo), Topi Lehtipuu (tenor), Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Roderick Williams (Jesus), Berliner Philharmoniker, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Sir Simon Rattle, Peter Sellars (director)

Available Format: 2 DVDs + Blu-ray

1930s Violin Concertos, Vol. 1

Gil Shaham (violin), New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Boston Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sejong Soloists, Juanjo Mena, David Robertson

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Sir Arnold Bax: Four Orchestral Pieces & Phantasy

Philip Dukes (viola), BBC Philharmonic, Sir Andrew Davis

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Beethoven: Piano Trios Nos. 6 & 7

Isabelle Faust (violin), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) & Alexander Melnikov (Graff fortepiano)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4

Maria João Pires (piano), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Leif Ove Andsnes: The Beethoven Journey (Piano Concerto No. 5 & Choral Fantasy)

Leif Ove Andsnes (piano & direction), Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 16-20

Maurizio Pollini (piano)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Biber: The Rosary Sonatas

Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch (violin), Battalia

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Birtwistle: The Moth Requiem

Roderick Williams (baritone), BBC Singers & Nash Ensemble, Nicholas Kok

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Brahms: Clarinet Quintet

Martin Fröst (clarinet), Janine Jansen ( violin), Boris Brovtsyn (violin), Maxim Rysanov (viola), Torleif Thedéen (cello), Roland Pöntinen (piano)

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Brahms: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 (complete)

Leonidas Kavakos (violin) & Yuja Wang (piano)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E Major

Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer

Available Format: SACD

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor

London Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Haitink

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Semiramide - La Signora Regale

Anna Bonitatibus (mezzo-soprano), Accademia degli Astrusi, Federico Ferri

Available Format: CD

Chopin: Piano Concertos

Ingrid Fliter (piano), Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Jun Märkl

Available Format: SACD

Berlin Comedian Harmonists - "Die Liebe kommt, die Liebe geht"

Berlin Comedian Harmonists

Available Format: CD

Donizetti: Maria Stuarda

Joyce DiDonato (Maria Stuarda), Elza van den Heever (Elisabetta), Matthew Rose (Talbot), Joshua Hopkins (Cecil), Matthew Polenzani (Leicester), Maria Zifchak (Anna Kennedy), The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Maurizio Benini

Available Format: DVD Video

Jacobean Lute Music

Jakob Lindberg (lute)

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

The Classical Piano Concerto 1: Dussek

Howard Shelley (piano & conductor), Ulster Orchestra

Available Format: CD

Dvorak: Cello Concerto

Alisa Weilerstein (cello), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Jiří Bělohlávek

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius & Sea Pictures

Stuart Skelton (tenor), Sarah Connolly (mezzo) & David Soar (bass), BBC Symphony Chorus & BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Perla Barocca

Rachel Podger (violin), Marcin Świątkiewicz (harpsichord & organ) & Daniele Caminiti (theorbo)

Available Format: SACD

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice

Bejun Mehta (Orfeo), Eva Liebau (Euridice) & Regula Mühlemann (Amore), Collegium 1704, Collegium Vocale 1704, Václav Luks

Available Format: DVD Video

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice

Bejun Mehta (Orfeo), Eva Liebau (Euridice) & Regula Mühlemann (Amore), Collegium 1704, Collegium Vocale 1704, Václav Luks

Available Format: Blu-ray

Handel: Jephtha

James Gilchrist (Jephtha), Susan Bickley (Storge), Sophie Bevan (Iphis), Robin Blaze (Hamor), Matthew Brook (Zebul) & Grace Davidson (Angel), The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Handel: Tamerlano

Xavier Sabata (Tamerlano), Max Emanuel Cencic (Andronico), John Mark Ainsley (Bajazet), Karina Gauvin (Asteria), Ruxandra Donose (Irene), Pavel Kudinov (Leone), Il Pomo d'Oro, Riccardo Minasi

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Handel: Arias

Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano), The English Concert, Harry Bicket

Available Format: CD

Handel: The Triumph of Time and Truth

Sophie Bevan, Mary Bevan (sopranos), Tim Mead (countertenor), Ed Lyon (tenor), William Berger (bass), Ludus Baroque, Richard Neville-Towle

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Hasse, J A: Siroe re di Persia

Max Emanuel Cencic (Siroe), Franco Fagioli (Medarse), Julia Lezhneva (Laodice), Juan Sancho (Cosroe), Mary-Ellen Nesi (Emira), Laureen Snouffer (Arasse), Armonia Atenea, George Petrou

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Haydn: The Seasons

Christina Landshamer, Maximilian Schmitt & Florian Boesch, Collegium Vocale Gent & Orchestre des Champs-Elysees, Philippe Herreweghe

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Howells: Stabat Mater

Benjamin Hulett (tenor), Alison Hill (soprano), The Bach Choir & Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, David Hill

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Les Vents Français: French Music for Winds & 20th Century Wind Quintets

Les Vents Français (Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Paul Meyer (clarinet), Francois Leleux (oboe), Gilbert Audin (bassoon), Radovan Vlatkovic (horn)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Schumann: Kinderszenen & Waldszenen & Janáček: On the overgrown path I

Marc-André Hamelin (piano)

Available Format: CD

Janacek & Smetana: String Quartets

Jerusalem Quartet

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Edward Gardner

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

A French Baroque Diva

Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Ex Cathedra, Jeffrey Skidmore

Available Format: CD

Langgaard: String Quartets Volume 3

Nightingale String Quartet

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Wagner without Words

Llyr Williams (piano)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas

Steven Osborne (piano)

Available Format: CD

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 52 'Lobgesang'

Christiane Karg, Christina Landshamer (sopranos) & Michael Schade (tenor), Chorus & Orchestra of Bavarian Radio, Pablo Heras-Casado

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Mendelssohn & Schumann

Maria João Pires (piano), London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Available Formats: SACD + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Monteverdi: Vespri solenni per la festa di San Marco

Monica Piccinini, Anna Simboli (sopranos), Andrea Arrivabene, Gianluca Ferrarini (altos), Luca Dordolo, Raffaele Giordani (tenors) & Matteo Bellotto, Salvo Vitale (bass), Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

From the Imperial Court

Stile Antico

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Moulinie: Meslanges pour la chapelle d'un prince

Sébastien Daucé (harpsichord, organ, direction), Ensemble Correspondances

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

The Spy’s Choirbook

Alamire & English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, David Skinner

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Mozart: Così fan tutte, K588

Simone Kermes (Fiordiligi), Malena Ernman (Dorabella), Anna Kasyan (Despina), Kenneth Tarver (Ferrando), Christopher Maltman (Guglielmo), Konstantin Wolff (Don Alfonso), MusicAeterna, Teodor Currentzis

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 25

Martha Argerich (piano), Orchestra Mozart, Claudio Abbado

Available Format: CD

Mozart: Requiem (Reconstruction of first performance)

Joanne Lunn (soprano), Rowan Hellier (alto), Thomas Hobbs (tenor) & Matthew Brook (bass-baritone), Dunedin Consort, John Butt

Available Format: SACD

Mozart: Mitridate, rè di Ponto, K87

Barry Banks (Mitridate), Miah Persson (Aspasia), Sophie Bevan (Sifare), Lawrence Zazzo (Farnace), Klara Ek (Ismene), Robert Murray (Marzio), Anna Devin (Arbate), The Orchestra of Classical Opera, Ian Page

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Per Nørgård: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 8

Vienna Philharmonic, Sakari Oramo

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Joyce DiDonato: Stella di Napoli

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo), Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon, Riccardo Minasi

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Palestrina Volume 5

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Cole Porter in Hollywood

Anna-Jane Casey, Kim Criswell, Matthew Ford, Sarah Fox, Richard Morrison, John Wilson Orchestra, John Wilson

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 - 5 (Complete)

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano), BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea Noseda

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas & Five Melodies

Alina Ibragimova (violin), Steven Osborne (piano)

Available Format: CD

Prokofiev: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 7

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Kirill Karabits

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Russian Treasures: Tenebrae

Tenebrae, Nigel Short

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Rachmaninov: Songs

Evelina Dobraceva, Ekaterina Siurina (sopranos), Justina Gringyte (mezzo-soprano), Daniil Shtoda (tenor), Andrei Bondarenko, Rodion Pogossov (baritones), Alexander Vinogradov (bass) & Iain Burnside (piano)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Rachmaninov & Prokofiev: Piano Concertos

Yuja Wang (piano), Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Cecilia Bartoli: St Petersburg

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano), I Barocchisti, Diego Fasolis

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Jos Van Immerseel Conducts Musorgsky & Ravel

Anima Eterna Brugge, Jos Van Immerseel

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Miloš: Aranjuez

Miloš Karadaglić (guitar), London Philharmonic Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Rossini: Otello

John Osborn (Otello), Cecilia Bartoli (Desdemona), Peter Kálmán (Elmiro), Javier Camarena (Rodrigo/Lucio), Edgardo Rocha (Iago) & Liliana Nikiteanu (Emilia), Chorus of the Opernhaus Zürich & Orchestra La Scintilla, Muhai Tang

Available Format: DVD Video

Rossini: Otello

John Osborn (Otello), Cecilia Bartoli (Desdemona), Peter Kálmán (Elmiro), Javier Camarena (Rodrigo/Lucio), Edgardo Rocha (Iago) & Liliana Nikiteanu (Emilia), Chorus of the Opernhaus Zürich & Orchestra La Scintilla, Muhai Tang

Available Format: Blu-ray

Alison Balsom: Paris

Alison Balsom (trumpet), The Guy Barker Orchestra, Guy Barker

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Schubert: Winterreise D911

Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Helmut Deutsch (piano)

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Schubert: Winterreise D911

Gerald Finley (baritone) & Julius Drake (piano)

Available Format: CD

Schubert: The Late Piano Sonatas

Paul Lewis (piano)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Simon Rattle conducts Schumann

Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle

Available Format: 2 CDs + Blu-ray

Schumann: Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (complete)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Robin Ticciati

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Shostakovich: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Truls Mørk (cello), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 'Babi Yar'

Alexander Vinogradov (bass), Huddersfield Choral Society & Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Vasily Petrenko

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Heimliche Aufforderung: Lieder by Richard Strauss

Christiane Karg (soprano), Felix Klieser (horn) & Malcolm Martineau (piano)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Ballet Music

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Kazuki Yamada

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Strauss: Four Last Songs

Anna Netrebko (soprano), Staatskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Denis Matsuev (piano), Mariinsky Orchestra, Valery Gergiev

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

Mariusz Kwiecien (Onegin), Anna Netrebko (Tatyana), Piotr Beczala (Lensky), Oksana Volkova (Olga), Alexei Tanovitski (Gremin), Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet, Valery Gergiev (conductor), Deborah Warner (director)

Available Format: Blu-ray

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

Mariusz Kwiecien (Onegin), Anna Netrebko (Tatyana), Piotr Beczala (Lensky), Oksana Volkova (Olga), Alexei Tanovitski (Gremin), Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet, Valery Gergiev (conductor), Deborah Warner (director)

Available Format: DVD Video

Anna Prohaska: Behind the Lines

Anna Prohaska (soprano), Eric Schneider (piano)

Available Format: CD

Vivaldi: Concertos for 2 Cellos

Julian Lloyd Webber (cello), Jiaxin Lloyd Webber (cello), European Union Chamber Orchestra, Hans-Peter Hofmann

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Weinberg: Orchestral & Chamber Works

Gidon Kremer (violin & director), Daniil Grishin (viola), Giedre Dirvanauskaite (cello), Daniil Trifonov (piano), Kremerata Baltica

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Weir: The Vanishing Bridegroom

Ailish Tynan (soprano), Anna Stéphany (mezzo), Andrew Tortise (tenor), Owen Gilhooly (baritone) & Jonathan Lemalu (bass baritone), BBC Singers & BBC Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Vladimir Jurowski conducts Zemlinsky

Heike Wessels (mezzo soprano), Sergey Skorokhodov (tenor) & Albert Dohmen (baritone), Petra Lang (mezzo soprano), London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC