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 Awards, Discs of the Year 2015 - our top 10

Discs of the Year 2015 - our top 10"Many are called, but few are chosen"... the process of slimming our 100 finalists down to just 10 was not an easy one by any means, but after several rounds of negotiations we managed it.

Here they are - our ten favourites, the recordings that we think are the absolute pinnacle of this year's releases.

You can view our gallery of the winners with their awards here.

Discs of the Year 2015 - The Winners

'Ibragimova’s playing, from the very first entry, is surprisingly sweet-toned; even in the relatively boisterous first movement the instrument constantly sings, and she’s not afraid to let the sustained notes ring out a little... her musical comfort zone seems to know no bounds.'

Available Format: CD

'Levit's Diabelli Variations brim with exuberance, vitality and often humour, tumbling into one another with unstoppable energy but with such lightning-like shifts of character that the overall experience is exhilarating and exhausting.'

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Andreas Ottensamer and friends

'The rapport between clarinet and strings throughout [the Brahms] is supremely warm and natural...But the real fun comes with the half-dozen companion-pieces...The result is so breathtakingly virtuosic that I laughed out loud the first time I heard it.'

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

Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer

'The sound he draws from his players is rich without being heavy... even when the music peters out into inaudibility at the end somehow that richness still seems to be there, which leaves an aftertaste of serenity rather than of exhausted collapse. If you like your Mahler histrionic and overwrought then this may not be the disc for you – but I found it a mature, sensitive performance throughout.'

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

Jonas Kaufmann, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

'I don't think I can recall another new release which has received quite so much air-time in the Presto office...Puccini's tenor writing is often associated with a rather more 'golden' sound than Kaufmann's essentially coppery one, but once you adjust to that everything's glorious.'

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

Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Kristine Opolais (soprano) Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

Also available in a deluxe version.

Available Format: CD + DVD Video

Orchestra Mozart, Claudio Abbado

'There's a freshness and vigour to it that kept me enthralled throughout...Listen to the way Abbado carefully crafts and shapes each bar, helped by some sensitive horn playing...The string sound is really quite beautiful...The oboe solo at the start of the second movement is full of poise and refinement...A delight of a recording'

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

London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Simon Rattle

'Mark Padmore is in quite extraordinary voice: the hushed passage where he describes the Peri arriving in a plague-stricken land is nothing short of spine-tingling, with an amazingly mournful horn solo, so simple on the page and yet when brought to life by such expert players as the LSO it becomes an astonishingly poignant moment.'

Available Formats: 2 SACDs + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

'Nelsons’s masterful grasp of the architecture of the work (particularly the epic 20-minute first movement, which almost feels like a symphony in its own right here), the slow-burn climaxes and the searing brass-playing all make their mark, but there’s something quite special going on here which transcends the technical side of things.'

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

'[This disc] maintains the astonishingly high standards that we have come to expect from them...Their tone, radiant one moment and poignantly hushed the next, is quite marvellous...With these highly expressive, virtuosic performances, the Pavel Haas Quartet have done it again!'

Available Format: CD

Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Ludovic Tezier, Erwin Schrott, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

'The cast really couldn't be bettered today...Kaufmann's sublime 'Celeste Aida' sets the tone for a recording that's full of fresh insights...But in the final analysis the laurel-wreath must go to Pappano's wonderful Santa Cecilia Orchestra, who capture every facet of the score's astonishing emotional and dynamic range and get right behind their conductor's vision of the opera.'

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Finalists

San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas & John Adams

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

Polyphony, Stephen Layton

Available Format: CD

English Chamber Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber

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

Vox Luminis, Scorpio Collectief, Lionel Meunier

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

Igor Levit

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Andreas Staier, Freiburger Barockorchester

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

Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner

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

David Watkin

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, FLAC

Gil Shaham

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

Academy of Ancient Music & Choir of the AAM, Richard Egarr

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC

Alina Ibragimova, Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

Available Format: CD

Renée Fleming, Emerson String Quartet

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

James Ehnes, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

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

Rachel Podger

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

Samuel West, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

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

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Riccardo Chailly

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

Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt

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

Andreas Ottensamer

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

Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov

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

Ex Cathedra, Jeffrey Skidmore

Available Format: CD

Tenebrae, Nigel Short

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

Alisa Weilerstein, Inon Barnatan

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

Seong-Jin Cho

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

Emily Birsan, Barry Banks, Alan Opie; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

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

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

James Ehnes, Andrew Armstrong

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

Piotr Beczala, Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon, Alain Altinoglu

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

Franco Fagioli, Malin Hartelius, Emmanuelle de Negri; Accentus, Insula Orchestra, Laurence Equilbey

Available Format: 3 CDs

Erin Morley, Javier Camarena, Michèle Losier, Laurent Naouri; Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder

Available Formats: 2 CDs, Hi-Res FLAC

Philippe Jaroussky, Jerome Ducros, Quatuor Ebène

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, FLAC

Philippe Jaroussky, Jerome Ducros, Quatuor Ebène

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

Julia Lezhneva, Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh

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

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Robin Ticciati

Available Format: SACD

Bryan Hymel, Prague Philharmonia, Emmanuel Villaume

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

Juan Diego Flórez, Filarmonica Gioachino Rossini, Carlo Tenan

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

James Ehnes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Edward Gardner

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

Joyce DiDonato, Antonio Pappano

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

Krystian Zimerman, Berliner Philharmoniker, Simon Rattle

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

Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer

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

London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Antonio Pappano

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

Christian Gerhaher, Freiburger Barockorchester

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

Robin Johannsen, Mari Eriksmoen, Maximilian Schmitt, Dimitry Ivashchenko; Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs

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

Sabine Devieilhe, Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon

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

Paul Lewis

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

Greta Bradman, English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Véronique Gens, Susan Manoff

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

Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica

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

New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert

Available Formats: 4 SACDs, MP3, FLAC

Sonya Yoncheva, Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, Frederic Chaslin

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

The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips

Available Format: CD

Balthasar-Neumann-Chor-und-Ensemble, Pablo Heras-Casado

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

Steven Isserlis, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi

Available Format: CD

Jonas Kaufmann, Nina Stemme, Tomasz Konieczny; Orchester & Chor der Wiener Staatoper, Franz Welser-Most

Available Format: DVD Video

Jonas Kaufmann, Nina Stemme, Tomasz Konieczny; Orchester & Chor der Wiener Staatoper, Franz Welser-Most

Available Format: Blu-ray

Jonas Kaufmann, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

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

Jonas Kaufmann, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

Available Format: CD + DVD Video

Jonas Kaufmann, Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano

Available Format: 2 Vinyl Records

Emmanuel Pahud, Kammerorchester Basel, Giovanni Antonini

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

Yuja Wang, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Lionel Bringuier

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

Orchestre et Choeur de l'Opéra National de Paris, Philippe Jordan

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

Aurora Orchestra, Nicholas Collon

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Nicola Alaima, Marina Rebeka, Juan Diego Flórez; Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Michele Mariotti

Available Format: Blu-ray

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Vladimir Jurowski

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

András Schiff

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

Orchestra Mozart, Claudio Abbado

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

Berliner Philharmoniker, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Available Formats: 8 CDs + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Simon Rattle

Available Formats: 2 SACDs + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Isabelle Faust, Freiburger Barockorchester, Pablo Heras-Casado

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

Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

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

Yevgeny Sudbin, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Litton

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

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

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Narva Boys Choir & Estonian Concert Choir, Paavo Järvi

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

Marc-André Hamelin, Takács Quartet

Available Format: CD

Leonidas Kavakos, Mariinsky Orchestra, Valery Gergiev

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

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

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

Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu

Available Formats: 3 SACDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Latvian Radio Choir, Sigvards Klava

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

Pavel Haas Quartet

Available Format: CD

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin & Rundfunkchor Berlin, Marek Janowski

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

Edward Watson, Sarah Lamb, Zenaida Yanowsky, Steven McRae; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, David Briskin

Available Format: DVD Video

Edward Watson, Sarah Lamb, Zenaida Yanowsky, Steven McRae; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, David Briskin

Available Format: Blu-ray

The Cardinall's Musick, Andrew Carwood

Available Format: CD

The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips

Available Format: CD

Kirill Gerstein, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, James Gaffigan

Available Format: SACD

Anna Netrebko, Sergey Skorokhodov, Alexey Markov, Vitalij Kowaljow; Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Emmanuel Villaume

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

Natalia Osipova, Matthew Golding,Elizabeth McGorian; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House & The Royal Ballet, Boris Gruzin

Available Format: DVD Video

Natalia Osipova, Matthew Golding,Elizabeth McGorian; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House & The Royal Ballet, Boris Gruzin

Available Format: Blu-ray

Daniil Trifonov

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

Mahan Esfahani

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

Nicholas Daniel, Britten Sinfonia, James MacMillan

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

Katherine Broderick, Roderick Williams, Hallé, Hallé Choir et al, Sir Mark Elder

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

Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Ludovic Tezier; Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Roma, Antonio Pappano

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Željko Luèiæ, Anna Netrebko, Joseph Calleja, René Pape; Metropolitan Opera, Fabio Luisi

Available Format: 2 DVD Videos

Željko Luèiæ, Anna Netrebko, Joseph Calleja, René Pape; Metropolitan Opera, Fabio Luisi

Available Format: Blu-ray

Max Emanuel Cencic, Franco Fagioli, Valer Sabadus, Juan Sancho; Il Pomo d'Oro, Riccardo Minasi

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Rachel Podger, Brecon Baroque

Available Format: 2 SACDs

Bryn Terfel, Anja Kampe, Matti Salminen, Marco Jentzsch; Philharmonia Zurich, Alain Altinoglu

Available Format: DVD Video

Matthias Goerne, Kim Begley, Michelle DeYoung, Peter Sidhom; Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden

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

Matthias Goerne, Kim Begley, Michelle DeYoung, Peter Sidhom; Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden

Available Format: Blu-ray Audio

Paul Watkins, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner

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