Celebrating the Best Classical Music Recordings of the Year
The nominations for the prestigious 19th BBC Music Magazine Awards have been unveiled, showcasing the finest classical music recordings from the past year. With a total of nine categories, the awards highlight the exceptional talent and artistry of musicians, orchestras, and ensembles across the globe. The winners will be announced at a highly anticipated awards ceremony in April, where the BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year will also be revealed. Let’s take a closer look at the nominees and the diverse range of music that has captivated audiences and critics alike.
In the Orchestral category, the nominations feature a captivating survey of three Shostakovich symphonies, a collection of English works, and a debut recording of Thomas Adès’s rendition of Dante’s Inferno. The immersive performances and interpretations by the Berlin Philharmonic, Sinfonia of London, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted respectively by Kirill Petrenko, John Wilson, and Gustavo Dudamel, have left a lasting impression on listeners.
The Concerto category showcases premiere recordings that have enthralled classical music enthusiasts. The Hallé Orchestra’s impressive compilation of large-scale works by Dobrinka Tabakova competes against the Danish National Symphony’s portrayal of Nielsen concertos and violinist Isabelle Faust’s period-instrument take on Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto. These exceptional performances, conducted by Fabio Luisi and François-Xavier Roth, demonstrate the virtuosity and musicality of the artists involved.
In the Opera category, John Wilson and his Sinfonia of London receive a double nomination for their rendition of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and their mesmerizing performance of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. They face tough competition from Antonio Pappano’s electrifying recording of Puccini’s Turandot and Les Talens Lyriques’ dazzling performance of Lully’s rarely recorded opera Psyché.
The Choral category encompasses a wide range of works, including atmospheric choral compositions by Saariaho, a new recording of Monteverdi’s iconic 1610 Vespers, and James O’Donnell’s unmissable final recording as music director of Westminster Abbey. These nominations highlight the diversity and richness of choral music, showcasing the talent of composers and choirs alike.
The Vocal category features the complete songs of the Boulanger sisters and lesser-known Baroque composers sung by countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński, as well as the solo recording debut of singer Julia Bullock. Bullock’s varied program, which combines traditional spirituals with songs by 20th-century singer-songwriters, showcases her versatility and artistry.
The Chamber category presents outstanding performances of Bach’s Well-Tempered Consort III by Phantasm, Beethoven’s Late String Quartets by the Calidore Quartet, and Schubert piano trios by Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff with Lars Vogt. These nominations highlight the exceptional skill and synergy of the chamber musicians, bringing out the nuances and complexities of these masterpieces.
In the Instrumental category, pianists Krystian Zimerman and Marc-André Hamelin, along with guitarist Sean Shibe, compete for the top spot. Zimerman’s staggering virtuosity in his set of Szymanowski piano works, Hamelin’s powerful interpretation of Fauré’s Nocturnes & Barcarolles, and Shibe’s exploration of South American music showcase the technical prowess and musicality of these exceptional artists.
The Premiere category celebrates overlooked solo viola repertoire by female composers performed by Rosalind Ventris, a collection of premiere recordings spanning decades by Martin Jones, Rebeca Omordia, and the BBC Concert Orchestra, and a thrilling showcase of orchestral works by Missy Mazzoli performed by the Arctic and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestras. These nominations highlight the importance of bringing new and lesser-known works to the forefront of classical music.
The Newcomer category recognizes the rising stars in the classical music world. Soprano Alexandra Lowe and pianist Patrick Milne present Le Voyage, a program of French songs inspired by various cultures, while guitarist Raphaël Feuillâtre reframes works by JS Bach and his French contemporaries. Pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu’s debut album Mirrors, featuring a diverse range of composers, completes the lineup. These artists have made a significant impact with their debut recordings, showcasing their exceptional talent and promising careers.
The nominations for the 19th BBC Music Magazine Awards represent the pinnacle of classical music recordings from the past year. With exceptional performances, innovative interpretations, and a diverse range of repertoire, these nominees have captivated audiences and critics alike. As we eagerly await the winners to be announced at the awards ceremony in April, we celebrate the talent, artistry, and dedication of these musicians who continue to enrich the classical music landscape.