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 Recording of the Week  Gramophone Awards 2009 - Finalists

This week sees the announcement of the shortlist for this year’s Gramophone Awards. Generally regarded as the Oscars of the classical music world, they are the most significant honours bestowed on the classical record industry.

As usual each record company was able to nominate a proportion of its annual release, and Gramophone critics then voted to produce the top three in each of the 15 categories. These are without doubt some of the finest discs released in the last twelve months and, although it doesn’t really feel like it has been a vintage year for new recordings, this list reminds you what a great year it has actually been.

Some of the categories look particularly intriguing with, for example, rival sopranos Anna Netrebko and Angela Gheorghiu (whom I’m reliably told genuinely do hate each other) going head to head in the opera category for their recordings of Bellini’s I Capuleti e Montecchi and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly respectively. They both face stiff competition though in the form of the late Richard Hickox’s moving account of Britten’s Owen Wingrave. It was one of the last recordings he made and is right up there with his previous Britten opera recordings.

Anniversary composers Handel, Haydn, Purcell and Martinu are all well represented and it is also good to see discs of composers like Lully and Morales featuring alongside discs from their more famous contemporaries.

Regular readers will recognise quite a lot of discs from the weekly newsletters and on the whole it is hard to argue with the selections made. We’ll reveal the overall winners on the afternoon of October 2nd along with the artist of the year and overall disc of the year. The Artist of the Year is being decided by public vote and if you haven’t voted yet you can do so now on the Gramophone website.

You can browse all this year's finalists here.