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 Recording of the Week  2013 Goodbyes and Looking Ahead to 2014

As we reach the last few days of 2013, we thought that we would take a moment to remember some of the great musicians who have sadly died during the past twelve months. As last year, we have put together a short tribute video to commemorate the people we have lost, which is accompanied by the music of one of the deceased composers, John Tavener’s Song for Athene. You can view the video here.

Wojciech Kilar, 1932-2013
Wojciech Kilar, 1932-2013

Unfortunately too late for inclusion in our video, we learned on Sunday of the death of the Polish composer, Wojciech Kilar. He is probably best known as the composer of music for films such as The Pianist and Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Dracula, but he also composed several symphonies, and many works for chorus and orchestra. We remember him and all of the departed with respect and affection, and are thankful for the joy that their music-making has brought to us.

Moving to more cheerful topics, 2013 was another fantastic year for new releases; we talked last week about our personal favourites that we weren’t able to write about in newsletters, but we have also pored over all of the releases that have come our way and put together our top 100 discs of the year.

Looking back at the list, it’s great to see such a wide spread of genres represented, ranging from recordings of Tallis from The Cardinall’s Musick and a selection of Tudor Church Music from Stile Antico, to Szymanowski from Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra, Bartók violin concertos from Isabelle Faust, and some wonderful recordings of music by more contemporary composers such as Pierre Boulez, Henri Dutilleux, and Elliott Carter. We are currently offering up to 30% off all 100 discs on our special offer page, so please do have a look through to check that you haven’t missed out on any of the recordings that we thought were particularly noteworthy.

Furthermore, as if it hasn’t been hard enough to pick just 100 discs from the whole year, we have also chosen our highly subjective and biased ‘top ten’, which you can see below. All of us in the Presto office felt that every single one of these discs had something special to say that made us go back to them time and again.

One of the overwhelming trends of the year’s releases was a plethora of discs devoted to the anniversaries of Wagner, Verdi, and Britten. Looking ahead to 2014, we note that composers such as Richard Strauss, Meyerbeer, CPE Bach, Gluck, and Rameau have major anniversaries, as do artists and conductors such as Paul Tortelier, Pierre Monteux, Ferenc Fricsay and Rafael Kubelík. On top of that, Bernard Haitink, Sir Neville Marriner, and Sir Roger Norrington all have significant birthdays next year, so no doubt there will be several boxed sets throughout the year celebrating their outstanding recordings, and hopefully many new discs too.

So, as you can see there is much to look forward to in the year ahead. We would like to end by thanking you all for your custom during the past year, and we look forward to more exciting recordings in 2014. Happy New Year!