The nominations for the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards have now been revealed, with 21 of the best classical recordings from over the past year chosen by an expert jury.
The discs were selected from the 200 recordings awarded five stars by our critics in the last 12 months. Voting is now open to the public, so you can choose your favourite recordings from seven categories: Orchestral, Instrumental, Chamber, Choral, Vocal, Opera and Concerto.
There were a huge number of Debussy recordings released in 2018 in celebration of the composer’s centenary, and the best of these are reflected in this year’s Awards shortlist. In the Instrumental category, Alexander Melnikov is nominated with his recordings of Book 2 of Debussy’s Préludes and the much-loved La Mer, in which Melnikov is joined by Olga Pashchenko. Melnikov appears again playing Debussy in the Chamber category, alongside other leading musicians including Isabelle Faust and Jean-Guihen Queyras in a selection of late works by the French composer.
Contemporary composer John Adams also appears in two categories in this year’s Awards: he conducts his thrilling Doctor Atomic in the Opera category, and his Naïve and Sentimental Music and Absolute Jest are performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Peter Oundjian in the Orchestral category.
Old classics have been given new life in several of this year’s Awards nominations, including new recordings of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony by MusicAeterna and Teodor Currentzis, and Mahler’s First Symphony by the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra under Adám Fischer.
New discoveries include Michael Collins’s recordings of Crusell’s fabulous clarinet concertos and a set of recordings of ‘Moralizing Songs in the Middle Ages’ from the Sollazzo ensemble in the Choral category.
Rising stars of the classical music world are heralded in this year’s Awards, with 25-year-old composer Owain Park’s choral works performed by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge in the Choral category and 26-year-old guitarist Sean Shibe’s disc SoftLOUD nominated in the Instrumental category, following his entry in the same category last year with his debut album.
Familiar faces in the BBC Music Magazine Awards this year include previous winners Mark Elder, who conducts Rossini’s Semiramide in the Opera category, and the Gabrieli Consort under Paul McCreesh, who are nominated in the Choral category with their A Rose Magnificat album.
'Drawing up our shortlist has been, like every year, a huge challenge', says BBC Music Magazine editor Oliver Condy. 'The quality of recordings in all genres throughout 2018 was remarkable. But now the power is in the hands of the music-loving public, and I'm excited to find out who they choose as the ultimate winners!'
In addition to the shortlisted recordings, there are four jury awards – Premiere Recording, Newcomer of the Year, DVD of the Year and Recording of the Year – all of which will be announced at the awards ceremony on 10 April.
The full list of nominees can be seen below, and the public vote is now open at www.classical-music.com/awards. You can also listen to audio clips from all the nominated discs here.
Voting closes on Tuesday 19 February 2019, and the winners will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Kings Place on Wednesday 10 April. For full details of the nominees and how to vote, go to our Awards page here.
Symphony No. 6
Naïve and Sentimental Music; Absolute Jest
Doric String Quartet; Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Peter Oundjian
Chandos CHSA 5199 (hybrid CD/SACD)
Symphony No. 1
Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra/Adám Fischer
Violin Concertos Nos 1 and 2
Christian Tetzlaff (violin); Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu
Piano Concertos Nos 2 and 4; excerpts from JS Bach’s Partita in E for solo violin, arr. Rachmaninov
Daniil Trifonov (piano); Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Deutsche Grammophon 483 5335
Clarinet Concertos, Op. 1 and Op. 11, Grand Concerto, Op. 5, Introduction et air suédois, Op. 12
Michael Collins (clarinet/conductor); Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Chandos CHSA 5187 (hybrid CD/SACD)
Acis and Galatea
Soloists; Early Opera Company/Christian Curnyn
Chandos CHSA 0404(2) (hybrid CD/SACD)
Soloists; BBC Singers; BBC Symphony Orchestra/John Adams
Soloists; Opera Rara Chorus, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Sir Mark Elder
Opera Rara 9293800572
A Rose Magnificat
Works by Leighton, Tallis, Warlock, White, MacMillan, Sheppard, Park, Wylkynson, Howells, Lane and Martin
Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh
Signum SIGCD 536
Parle Qui Veut
Moralizing Songs of the Middle Ages
Linn CKD 529
The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton
Hyperion CDA 68191
Works by Messager, Debussy, Delibes, Delage, Stravinsky, Thomas, Berlioz, Massenet and Koechlin
Sabine Devieilhe (soprano); Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth et al
Schumann • Mahler
Schumann: Liederkreis, Op. 39; Lieder und Gesänge aus Wilhelm Meister; Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Florian Boesch (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Linn CKD 511
Works by Rameau, Rebel and Gluck
Stéphane Degout (bass-baritone); Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon
Harmonia Mundi HMM 902288
Piano Quintets Nos 1 & 2; Quartets for Four Violins & Four Cellos
Silesian Quartet et al
Chandos CHAN 10976
Deux Works by Bartók, Poulenc, Ravel and Dohnányi
Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin), Polina Leschenko (piano)
Alpha ALPHA 387
Debussy The Late Works
Isabelle Faust (violin), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello), Xavier de Maistre (harp), Antoine Tamestit (viola), Magali Mosnier (flute), Alexander Melnikov, Javier Perianes, Tanguy De Williencourt (piano)
Harmonia Mundi HMM 902303
Works and transcriptions
Vikingur Ólafsson (piano)
Deutsche Grammophon 483 5022
Works by Oswald, MacMillan, Reich, Wolfe, Lang; 17th-century Scottish lute pieces
Sean Shibe (guitar)
Delphian DCD 34213
Préludes, Book 2; La mer (transcr. Debussy)
Alexander Melnikov (piano), Olga Pashchenko (piano)
Harmonia Mundi HMM 902302