American cellist Alisa Weilerstein has won the BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Year Award with her debut concerto disc, the Elgar and Carter Cello Concertos, with the Berlin Staatskappelle and Daniel Barenboim, released on the Decca label.
Voted for by the public and BBC Music Magazine’s expert jury of critics, Weilerstein’s disc represents the very best of more than 1,500 reviewed by BBC Music Magazine throughout 2013.
The 2014 BBC Music Magazine Awards jury commented: ‘Weilerstein avoids nostalgia and produces an account full of passion, grief and nobility of feeling…it’s been years since a new recording of Elgar’s great concerto made this kind of visceral impact. Significantly, it is the first time that Barenboim has chosen to conduct a recording of Elgar’s famous Cello Concerto since his legendary performances with Jacqueline du Pré.’
Other winners include two landmark recordings of works by Benjamin Britten: Peter Grimes was the recipient of the Opera Award for the centenary production staged on Aldeburgh beach last summer, while the War Requiem, recorded by Polish and English forces under the direction of Paul McCreesh, took the Choral Award. Pre-eminent Baroque violinist Rachel Podger won the Instrumental category for her solo recital Guardian Angel, while the acclaimed German tenor, Jonas Kaufmann, walked away with the Vocal Award for his disc of Wagner arias. Riccardo Chailly’s recent performances of Brahms’s symphonies with the Gewandhaus Orchestra drew rapturous reviews all over Europe, and won the Orchestral category, while the vivacious French Quatuor Ebène scored their second BBC Music Magazine Award in the Chamber category for quartets by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn.
Jury awards went to pianist Igor Levit (Newcomer Award) for his breath-taking debut account of Beethoven’s late piano sonatas that, according to the jury, ‘stands comparison with the greatest in the catalogue’. George Benjamin’s new opera Written on Skin, sung by Barbara Hannigan, Christopher Purves and Bejun Mehta, won the Premiere Award. The DVD Performance category was won by Jonathan Kent’s production of Puccini’s Tosca sung by Bryn Terfel, Jonas Kaufmann and Angela Gheorghiu with Antonio Pappano from the Royal Opera House, while The Genius of Cavaillé-Coll, an epic exploration of the legendary French organ builder, won the DVD Documentary Award.
A new App Award was launched this year, recognising the achievements and the potential of this exciting new format. BBC Music Magazine, which publishes digital editions for iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and Android, presented this inaugural award to the Touchpress/DG Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony app, which packs in a vast amount of content, film, music and interactive engagement.
The Awards were announced today at a ceremony that took place at Kings Place in London. It was hosted by Oliver Condy and Radio 3’s In Tune presenter Sean Rafferty, and attended by artists and representatives from across the classical music industry, as well as 100 BBC Music Magazine readers. Performers included Bryn Terfel, Rachel Podger and Igor Levit and presenters included soprano Dame Anne Evans, actor Sam West and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard.
RECORDING OF THE YEAR/CONCERTO AWARD
Elgar/Carter: Cello Concertos (Decca)
Alisa Weilerstein (cello) Staatskappelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim
Brahms: Symphonies 1-4 etc (Decca)
Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig/Riccardo Chailly
Felix & Fanny Mendelssohn: String Quartets. Op.9, 80 & (Erato)
Guardian Angel: works by Bach, Biber, Tartini, Pisendel (Channel Classics)
Rachel Podger (violin)
Britten: Peter Grimes (Signum)
Alan Oke, Giselle Allen, David Kempster, Catherine Wyn-Rogers etc, Chorus of Opera North, Guildhall School of Music, Britten-Pears Orchestra /Steuart Bedford
Wagner: Arias from Lohengrin, Die Walküre, Tannhäuser; Wesendonck Lieder (Decca)
Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin/ Donald Runnicles
Britten: War Requiem (Winged Lion/Signum)
Gabrieli Consort & Players; Wroclaw Phil. Choir, New College trebles, John Mark Ainsley, Christopher Maltman, Susan Gritton/ Paul McCreesh
Beethoven: The Late Sonatas (Sony)
Igor Levit (piano)
George Benjamin: Written on Skin (Nimbus)
Christopher Purves, Barbara Hannigan, Bejun Mehta/Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Puccini: Tosca (Warner)
Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel etc;
Chorus and Orchestra of Royal Opera House/Sir Antonio Pappano
The Genius of Cavaillé-Coll
Presented by Gerard Brooks
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony