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 Awards  Discs of the Year 2015 - our top 10

Discs of the Year 2015 - our top 10"Many are called, but few are chosen"... the process of slimming our 100 finalists down to just 10 was not an easy one by any means, but after several rounds of negotiations we managed it.

Here they are - our ten favourites, the recordings that we think are the absolute pinnacle of this year's releases.

You can view our gallery of the winners with their awards here.

Discs of the Year 2015 - The Winners

Alina Ibragimova, Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

JS Bach: Violin Concertos

'Ibragimova’s playing, from the very first entry, is surprisingly sweet-toned; even in the relatively boisterous first movement the instrument constantly sings, and she’s not afraid to let the sustained notes ring out a little... her musical comfort zone seems to know no bounds.'

Available Format: CD

Bach, Beethoven, Rzewski

Igor Levit

'Levit's Diabelli Variations brim with exuberance, vitality and often humour, tumbling into one another with unstoppable energy but with such lightning-like shifts of character that the overall experience is exhilarating and exhausting.'

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

Brahms: The Hungarian Connection

Andreas Ottensamer and friends

'The rapport between clarinet and strings throughout [the Brahms] is supremely warm and natural...But the real fun comes with the half-dozen companion-pieces...The result is so breathtakingly virtuosic that I laughed out loud the first time I heard it.'

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

Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer

'The sound he draws from his players is rich without being heavy... even when the music peters out into inaudibility at the end somehow that richness still seems to be there, which leaves an aftertaste of serenity rather than of exhausted collapse. If you like your Mahler histrionic and overwrought then this may not be the disc for you – but I found it a mature, sensitive performance throughout.'

Available Format: SACD

Nessun dorma: The Puccini Album

Jonas Kaufmann, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

'I don't think I can recall another new release which has received quite so much air-time in the Presto office...Puccini's tenor writing is often associated with a rather more 'golden' sound than Kaufmann's essentially coppery one, but once you adjust to that everything's glorious.'

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

Nessun Dorma: The Puccini Album

Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Kristine Opolais (soprano) Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

Also available in a deluxe version.

Available Format: CD + DVD Video

Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major 'The Great'

Orchestra Mozart, Claudio Abbado

'There's a freshness and vigour to it that kept me enthralled throughout...Listen to the way Abbado carefully crafts and shapes each bar, helped by some sensitive horn playing...The string sound is really quite beautiful...The oboe solo at the start of the second movement is full of poise and refinement...A delight of a recording'

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

Schumann: Das Paradies und die Peri

London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Simon Rattle

'Mark Padmore is in quite extraordinary voice: the hushed passage where he describes the Peri arriving in a plague-stricken land is nothing short of spine-tingling, with an amazingly mournful horn solo, so simple on the page and yet when brought to life by such expert players as the LSO it becomes an astonishingly poignant moment.'

Available Formats: 2 SACDs + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Shostakovich - Under Stalin's Shadow

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

'Nelsons’s masterful grasp of the architecture of the work (particularly the epic 20-minute first movement, which almost feels like a symphony in its own right here), the slow-burn climaxes and the searing brass-playing all make their mark, but there’s something quite special going on here which transcends the technical side of things.'

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

Smetana: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2

Pavel Haas Quartet

'[This disc] maintains the astonishingly high standards that we have come to expect from them...Their tone, radiant one moment and poignantly hushed the next, is quite marvellous...With these highly expressive, virtuosic performances, the Pavel Haas Quartet have done it again!'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Verdi: Aida

Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Ludovic Tezier, Erwin Schrott, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

'The cast really couldn't be bettered today...Kaufmann's sublime 'Celeste Aida' sets the tone for a recording that's full of fresh insights...But in the final analysis the laurel-wreath must go to Pappano's wonderful Santa Cecilia Orchestra, who capture every facet of the score's astonishing emotional and dynamic range and get right behind their conductor's vision of the opera.'

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

Finalists

John Adams: Absolute Jest

San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas & John Adams

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

American Polyphony

Polyphony, Stephen Layton

Available Format: CD

And the Bridge is Love: English Music for Strings

English Chamber Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber

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

J Bach, JC Bach & JM Bach: Motetten

Vox Luminis, Scorpio Collectief, Lionel Meunier

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Bach, Beethoven, Rzewski

Igor Levit

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

Bach, J S: Keyboard Concertos Nos. 1-7 BWV1052-1058

Andreas Staier, Freiburger Barockorchester

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

JS Bach: Mass in B minor

Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner

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

JS Bach: Cello Suites

David Watkin

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

JS Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

Gil Shaham

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

JS Bach: St Matthew Passion

Academy of Ancient Music & Choir of the AAM, Richard Egarr

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

JS Bach: Violin Concertos

Alina Ibragimova, Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

Available Format: CD

Berg, Wellesz, Zeisl

Renée Fleming, Emerson String Quartet

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Berlioz: Harold en Italie

James Ehnes, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

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

Biber: The Rosary Sonatas

Rachel Podger

Available Format: SACD

Bliss: Morning Heroes & Hymn to Apollo

Samuel West, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

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

Brahms: The Complete Songs Volume 6

Ian Bostridge, Graham Johnson

Available Format: CD

Brahms: Serenades

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Riccardo Chailly

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

Brahms: Complete Piano Trios

Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt

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

Brahms: The Hungarian Connection

Andreas Ottensamer

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

Brahms: Violin Sonatas Nos. 2 & 3

Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov

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

Brazilian Adventures

Ex Cathedra, Jeffrey Skidmore

Available Format: CD

Brahms & Bruckner: Motets

Tenebrae, Nigel Short

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

Chopin & Rachmaninov: Cello Sonatas

Alisa Weilerstein, Inon Barnatan

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

Chopin Competition Winner 2015

Seong-Jin Cho

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

Elgar: King Olaf

Emily Birsan, Barry Banks, Alan Opie; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

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

Flight of Angels

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Franck & Strauss: Violin Sonatas

James Ehnes, Andrew Armstrong

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

The French Collection

Piotr Beczala, Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon, Alain Altinoglu

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

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice

Franco Fagioli, Malin Hartelius, Emmanuelle de Negri; Accentus, Insula Orchestra, Laurence Equilbey

Available Format: CD

Gounod: La Colombe

Erin Morley, Javier Camarena, Michèle Losier, Laurent Naouri; Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder

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

Green - Melodies françaises on Verlaine’s poems

Philippe Jaroussky, Jerome Ducros, Quatuor Ebène

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Green - Melodies françaises on Verlaine’s poems

Philippe Jaroussky, Jerome Ducros, Quatuor Ebène

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

Grieg: Lyric Pieces

Stephen Hough

Available Format: CD

Handel

Julia Lezhneva, Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato

Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh

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

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 31, 70 & 101

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Robin Ticciati

Available Format: SACD

Héroïque: French Opera Arias

Bryan Hymel, Prague Philharmonia, Emmanuel Villaume

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

In the Midst of Life: Music from the Baldwin Partbooks I

Contrapunctus, Owen Rees

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Italia

Juan Diego Flórez, Filarmonica Gioachino Rossini, Carlo Tenan

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2

James Ehnes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Edward Gardner

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

Joyce & Tony: Live at the Wigmore Hall

Joyce DiDonato, Antonio Pappano

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

Lutoslawski: Piano Concerto & Symphony No. 2

Krystian Zimerman, Berliner Philharmoniker, Simon Rattle

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

Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer

Available Format: SACD

Maxwell Davies & Panufnik: Symphonies No. 10

London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Antonio Pappano

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Mendelssohn, Grieg & Hough: Cello Sonatas

Steven Isserlis, Stephen Hough

Available Format: CD

Mozart Arias

Christian Gerhaher, Freiburger Barockorchester

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

Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Robin Johannsen, Mari Eriksmoen, Maximilian Schmitt, Dimitry Ivashchenko; Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs

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

Mozart: The Weber Sisters

Sabine Devieilhe, Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon

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

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

Paul Lewis

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

My Hero

Greta Bradman, English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Néère

Véronique Gens, Susan Manoff

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

New Seasons

Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica

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

Nielsen: The Symphonies & Concertos

New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Paris, mon amour

Sonya Yoncheva, Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, Frederic Chaslin

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

Pärt: Tintinnabuli

The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips

Available Format: CD

Praetorius

Balthasar-Neumann-Chor-und-Ensemble, Pablo Heras-Casado

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

Prokofiev & Shostakovich: Cello Concertos

Steven Isserlis, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi

Available Format: CD

Puccini: La fanciulla del West (DVD)

Jonas Kaufmann, Nina Stemme, Tomasz Konieczny; Orchester & Chor der Wiener Staatoper, Franz Welser-Most

Available Format: DVD Video

Puccini: La fanciulla del West (Blu-ray)

Jonas Kaufmann, Nina Stemme, Tomasz Konieczny; Orchester & Chor der Wiener Staatoper, Franz Welser-Most

Available Format: Blu-ray

Nessun Dorma: The Puccini Album (standard version)

Jonas Kaufmann, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

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

Nessun Dorma: The Puccini Album (deluxe version)

Jonas Kaufmann, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

Available Format: CD + DVD Video

Nessun Dorma: The Puccini Album (vinyl version)

Jonas Kaufmann, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

Available Format: Vinyl

Revolution: Flute Concertos

Emmanuel Pahud, Kammerorchester Basel, Giovanni Antonini

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

Ravel: Piano Concertos

Yuja Wang, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Lionel Bringuier

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

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé & La Valse

Orchestre et Choeur de l'Opéra National de Paris, Philippe Jordan

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

Road Trip

Aurora Orchestra, Nicholas Collon

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Rossini: Guillaume Tell (DVD)

Nicola Alaima, Marina Rebeka, Juan Diego Flórez; Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Michele Mariotti

Available Format: DVD Video

Rossini: Guillaume Tell (Blu-ray)

Nicola Alaima, Marina Rebeka, Juan Diego Flórez; Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Michele Mariotti

Available Format: Blu-ray

Schnittke: Symphony No. 3

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Vladimir Jurowski

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

Schubert: Sonatas, Impromptus & Moments Musicaux

András Schiff

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major,'The Great'

Orchestra Mozart, Claudio Abbado

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

Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Schubert

Berliner Philharmoniker, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Available Format: 8 CDs + Blu-ray Audio

Schumann: Das Paradies und die Peri

London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Simon Rattle

Available Formats: 2 SACDs + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Schumann: Violin Concerto & Piano Trio No. 3

Isabelle Faust, Freiburger Barockorchester, Pablo Heras-Casado

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

Scriabin: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4

Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

Available Format: CD

Scriabin & Medtner: Piano Concertos

Yevgeny Sudbin, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Litton

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

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

Shostakovich: Cantatas

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Narva Boys Choir & Estonian Concert Choir, Paavo Järvi

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

Shostakovich: Piano Quintet & String Quartet No. 2

Marc-André Hamelin, Takács Quartet

Available Format: CD

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9 & Violin Concerto No. 1

Leonidas Kavakos, Mariinsky Orchestra, Valery Gergiev

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

Sibelius: Symphony No. 2

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

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

Sibelius: Complete Symphonies

Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Valentin Silvestrov: To Thee We Sing

Latvian Radio Choir, Sigvards Klava

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

Smetana: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2

Pavel Haas Quartet

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Richard Strauss: Symphonia Domestica & Die Tageszeiten

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin & Rundfunkchor Berlin, Marek Janowski

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

Joby Talbot: The Winter's Tale (DVD)

Edward Watson, Sarah Lamb, Zenaida Yanowsky, Steven McRae; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, David Briskin

Available Format: DVD Video

Joby Talbot: The Winter's Tale (Blu-ray)

Edward Watson, Sarah Lamb, Zenaida Yanowsky, Steven McRae; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, David Briskin

Available Format: Blu-ray

Tallis: Ave, Dei patris filia

The Cardinall's Musick, Andrew Carwood

Available Format: CD

Taverner: Missa Corona spinea

The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips

Available Format: CD

Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev: Piano Concertos

Kirill Gerstein, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, James Gaffigan

Available Format: SACD

Tchaikovsky: Iolanta

Anna Netrebko, Sergey Skorokhodov, Alexey Markov, Vitalij Kowaljow; Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Emmanuel Villaume

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

Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake (DVD)

Natalia Osipova, Matthew Golding,Elizabeth McGorian; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House & The Royal Ballet, Boris Gruzin

Available Format: DVD Video

Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake (Blu-ray)

Natalia Osipova, Matthew Golding,Elizabeth McGorian; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House & The Royal Ballet, Boris Gruzin

Available Format: Blu-ray

Sokolov: The Salzburg Recital 2008

Grigory Sokolov

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Rachmaninov Variations

Daniil Trifonov

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

Time Present and Time Past

Mahan Esfahani

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

Vaughan Williams & James Macmillan: Oboe Concertos

Nicholas Daniel, Britten Sinfonia, James MacMillan

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

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 1 'A Sea Symphony'

Katherine Broderick, Roderick Williams, Hallé, Hallé Choir et al, Sir Mark Elder

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

Verdi: Aida

Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Ludovic Tezier; Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Roma, Antonio Pappano

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

Verdi: Macbeth (DVD)

Željko Luèiæ, Anna Netrebko, Joseph Calleja, René Pape; Metropolitan Opera, Fabio Luisi

Available Format: DVD Video

Verdi: Macbeth (Blu-ray)

Željko Luèiæ, Anna Netrebko, Joseph Calleja, René Pape; Metropolitan Opera, Fabio Luisi

Available Format: Blu-ray

Leonardo Vinci: Catone in Utica

Max Emanuel Cencic, Franco Fagioli, Valer Sabadus, Juan Sancho; Il Pomo d'Oro, Riccardo Minasi

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

Vivaldi: L'estro armonico - 12 concerti, Op. 3

Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque

Available Format: SACD

Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer (DVD)

Bryn Terfel, Anja Kampe, Matti Salminen, Marco Jentzsch; Philharmonia Zurich, Alain Altinoglu

Available Format: DVD Video

Wagner: Das Rheingold

Matthias Goerne, Kim Begley, Michelle DeYoung, Peter Sidhom; Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden

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

Wagner: Das Rheingold

Matthias Goerne, Kim Begley, Michelle DeYoung, Peter Sidhom; Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden

Available Format: Blu-ray Audio

Walton: Symphony No. 2 & Cello Concerto

Paul Watkins, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner

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

Ysaÿe: Six Sonatas for solo violin Op. 27

Alina Ibragimova

Available Format: CD