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 Recording of the Week  BBC Music Magazine Awards Shortlist

The BBC Music Magazine have announced the nominees for their 2010 Awards this week. Out of the 1500 discs they reviewed during the year, almost 300 of them had five stars. Their special awards jury had the very tricky task of reducing those 300 to just 18, and now those 18 are put before the public vote to decide the six category winners - Instrumental, Chamber, Orchestral, Choral, Vocal and Opera.

Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev

I’m not sure if the jury deliberately set out to select something for everyone, but there is a remarkable variety amongst the eighteen chosen discs. In terms of repertoire these are classics like Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Verdi’s Requiem and there are also several lesser-known works, such as Szymanowski’s Violin Sonata, Telemann’s Brocke’s Passion and Shostakovich’s opera The Nose. There is a good range across the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th Century periods, although it is slightly disappointing not to see any Renaissance or Contemporary discs included.

Magdalena Kozená
Magdalena Kozená

In terms of artists, there is no shortage of big names with conductors Valery Gergiev and Sir Charles Mackerras, pianists Murray Perahia and Stephen Kovacevich and singers Jonas Kaufmann and Magdalena Kozená all included. There are also a number of young (but no less talented) musicians short-listed with Russian and Moravian violinists Alina Ibragimova and Patricia Kopatchinskaja leading the way.

It is also interesting to note the continued fragmentation of the record industry and in particular the continued rise of the independent record labels. Out of eighteen discs nominated no few than sixteen different labels are represented, ranging from the mighty EMI with a catalogue of several thousand recordings and over a hundred years of recorded history to the tiny Mariinsky Theatre’s own label which started last year and so far has four discs in its catalogue.

As usual we’ve put a special page together where you can browse all the nominated discs, and this year also included six very short videos of the artists explaining a bit about their discs. There seems to be a real thirst for knowledge and discovery out there and it is a great idea of the BBC’s to make these short videos which give you just a little bit more depth and appreciation of the works themselves and what the artists are trying to show in their recordings.

You can browse full details of the nominated discs and watch the videos here.