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 Awards  BBC Music Magazine Awards 2018: Shortlist

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2018The nominations for this year's BBC Music Magazine Awards have just been announced this morning, with a potential long-list of over 200 five-star recordings from the past twelve months pared down to 21 finalists (three contenders spread over seven categories).

You can browse the short-list and listen to snippets of the discs below; to place your vote, visit the magazine's website here. The winners will be announced in a ceremony in London on Thursday 5th April.

Chamber

Ligeti: Six Bagatelles and other works

Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth

'This new recording is comparable with the best…perhaps its most characteristic movement is the third which shows Ligeti’s fascination with mechanical objects, its out-of-phase repeated notes having the ensemble converging and moving apart. The wind quintet pieces, ideally recorded, are played with superb virtuosity.'

Available Format: CD

A Noble and Melancholy Instrument

Alec Frank-Gemill (horn), Alasdair Beatson (piano)

'This beautifully thought-through disc has horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill and pianist Alasdair Beatson playing four different pianos and four different horns, all historically appropriate, in a programme ranging through Rossini, Glazunov, Dukas and more. Their warm, easy musicianship makes this edifying and effortlessly enjoyable.'

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

Debussy: Sonatas & Trios

Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Renaud Capuçon (violin), Bertrand Chamayou (piano) et al

'This is luxury casting for Debussy, with a clutch of the finest Francophone musicians from across the generations coming together for the occasion. Their readings of the late sonatas are packed with glorious detail, while Renaud Capuçon, Bertrand Chamayou and Edgar Moreau make a great case for the early Piano Trio.'

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

Choral

Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry

Vox Clamantis, Jaan-Eik Tulve

'From the incantatory style of The Deer’s Cry to the gently layered Veni Creator with its simple, quasi-medieval organ accompaniment, Pärt’s choral music requires precision and sensitivity, qualities that are in abundance in this stunningly recorded album. Hard to imagine this music better performed.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Martinů: Cantatas

Members of the Bennewitz Quartet & Prague Philharmonic Choir, Lukas Vasilek

'Every new Martinů release from Supraphon over the past few years has been treasurable, but this compendium offers the composer’s miraculous poetic cantatas inspired by folk wisdom and timely ecological parables. Unorthodox instrumental combinations and superb singing heighten the pleasures of this recording.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Ein Feste Burg ist Unser Gott: Luther and the Music of the Reformation

Bart Jacobs (organ), Vox Luminis, Lionel Meunier

'Music played an important part in Lutheran worship. Marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Vox Luminis and director Lionel Meunier offer an illuminating exploration of Luther’s hymns and Gospel translations in settings by many of JS Bach’s predecessors. All is warmly performed, and wonderfully presented in a generously illustrated book format.'

Available Format: 2 CDs

Concerto

Fagerlund & Aho: Bassoon Concertos

Bram van Sambeek (bassoon), Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu, Dima Slobodeniouk

'This collection of contemporary works for the oft-neglected bassoon is a revelation. Vital new pieces by Fagerlund and Aho highlight the fire and heart of the instrument, Bram van Sambeek delivers flawless performances, the Lahti Symphony are on fire, and the sound quality is top-notch.'

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

Mozart: Complete Violin Concertos

Isabelle Faust (violin), Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini

'Everything feels right about this recording. Isabelle Faust brings purity and playfulness to Mozart’s five violin concertos, youthful works with a freshness of spirit that comes across here with fluent ease. Andreas Staier’s cadenzas are an inspired choice.'

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Dynastie: Bach Concertos

Jean Rondeau (harpsichord)

'Jean Rondeau is a firecracker harpsichordist – phrasing, rhythms, ornamentation delivered with panache and intelligence. JS Bach’s D minor Concerto has rarely sounded so urgent, while Rondeau delights in the impishness of JS’s son CPE’s own D minor Concerto. The orchestral playing is vibrant.'

Available Format: CD

Dynastie: Bach Concertos (Digital version including bonus track)

Jean Rondeau (harpsichord)

'Jean Rondeau is a firecracker harpsichordist – phrasing, rhythms, ornamentation delivered with panache and intelligence. JS Bach’s D minor Concerto has rarely sounded so urgent, while Rondeau delights in the impishness of JS’s son CPE’s own D minor Concerto. The orchestral playing is vibrant.'

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

Instrumental

Bach2 The Future Vol. 2

Fenella Humphreys (violin)

'This gutsy and exhilarating disc completes violinist Fenella Humphreys’s laudable project to commission and record six companion pieces to Bach’s Partitas. Featuring splendid new compositions by Sally Beamish, Peter Maxwell Davies and Adrian Sutton alongside works by Bach, Ysaÿe, Stravinsky and Sibelius, the disc is performed with great precision and verve.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Dreams & Fancies: English Music for Solo Guitar

Sean Shibe (guitar)

'Not just great guitar playing, but for two members of this year’s jury the best they had ever heard. At 25, Sean Shibe is that rare thing, a mature philosopher among musicians. He draws a rainbow of colours from his instrument, and Arnold’s Fantasy is a highlight in a balanced programme of English music.'

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

Schubert: Piano Sonatas D959 and D960

Krystian Zimerman (piano)

'The soundworld of this disc is immediately striking: Zimerman has added his own keyboard into a Steinway to create an instrument more akin to what Schubert might have known. But it’s not just the singing tone that sets these performances apart: Zimerman’s take on these two late sonatas is carefully thought through and deeply felt.'

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

Opera

Carnevale 1729

Ann Hallenberg (mezzo), Il Pomo d'Oro, Stefano Montanari

'A programme loosely based on the 18th-century Venetian carnival offers Ann Hallenberg a colourful window to dazzle us with her astounding virtuosity. Here is a glorious voice which never falters and whose intuitive ornamentation is a constant delight. Il Pomo d’Oro under Stefano Montanari’s direction provides vital support.'

Available Formats: 2 SACDs, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Berlioz: Les Troyens

Joyce DiDonato (Didon), Michael Spyres (Énée), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Cassandre), Orchestre et Choeur philharmonique de Strasbourg, John Nelson

'Erato’s much-anticipated recording of this four-hour epic, made live in Strasbourg at concerts conducted by Berlioz specialist John Nelson, did not disappoint. It captures thrilling performances from Joyce DiDonato as Didon and from Michael Spyres, at the peak of his powers, as Énée, and from a supporting cast of impressive strength.'

Available Formats: 4 CDs + DVD Video, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Louis Andriessen: Theatre of the World

Los Angeles Philharmonic, Reinbert de Leeuw

'Andriessen calls it a grotesque in nine scenes, turning the life of 17th-century German polymath, Jesuit and scientist Athanasius Kircher into a Faustian journey of self-discovery. Using a mixture of languages, children’s songs, Baroque music, jazz and modernism, it’s a dizzying kaleidoscopic creation from a master of stagecraft.'

Available Format: CD

Orchestral

Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Gerhild Romberger (mezzo), Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bernard Haitink

'Haitink’s first recording of Mahler's Third Symphony was half a century ago in Amsterdam. The view hasn’t changed too much – a measured survey of the immense opening movement through to a mesmerising account of the great final Adagio – but the playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony is outstanding, and beautifully captured in concert.'

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Schmidt: Symphony No. 2 & Strauss: Dreaming by the Fireside

Wiener Philharmoniker, Semyon Bychkov

'Bychkov pleads masterpiece status for a rarity. Schmidt’s late Romantic style needs the sheen of the Vienna Philharmonic, here captured in outstandingly natural and spacious sound – this is a winner on the engineering front, too. The jury was unanimous in welcoming this splendid risk from a major label.'

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

Vaughan Williams: Job & Symphony No. 9

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

'Vaughan Williams’s final symphony has the sinister bite of Shostakovich at his bleakest – a quality not lost on Davis and his Bergen ensemble who have a tight grip on the work’s waspish qualities with playing of eeriness and beauty. The Elizabethan-inspired Job is cloaked in luscious sound.'

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

Vocal

All Who Wander

Jamie Barton (mezzo), Brian Zeger (piano)

'The long wait for Jamie Barton’s debut recital disc was worth every minute. Barton, double winner of 2013’s BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, is wonderfully idiomatic in Dvořák and Sibelius, and she and her pianist give a performance of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder that is up there with the greatest.'

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

Blow: An Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell

Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

'Blow’s music deserves to be better known as these stylish performances demonstrate. High tenors rather than the usually heard countertenors sing the Ode on the Death of Henry Purcell while the remaining programme uncovers music which is seldom heard but is of sterling merit.'

Available Format: CD

Fata Morgana: Songs by Pavel Haas

Anita Watson (soprano), Anna Starushkevych (mezzo soprano), Nicky Spence (tenor), James Platt (bass), Navarra Quartet, Lada Valesova (piano)

'This captivating collection is everything a recording should be. The brain-child of pianist-musicologist Lada Valešová, the disc celebrates the delicately enthralling songs of 20th-century Czech composer Pavel Haas (including a premiere recording, of Fata Morgana), performed with beauty and care.'

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