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Awards, Recordings of the Year 2017 - Our Top 10

Presto Classical Recordings of the Year 2017 - WinnersAfter some spirited debate and many hours of listening, the Presto editorial team have finally decided on our Top 10 Recordings of 2017 - the albums which really made us listen afresh to core repertoire, or made compelling cases for music which was new to us!

We'll be despatching physical awards to all our winners over the next week, so do look out for a photo-gallery in the not-too-distant future, and you can explore all one hundred finalists here.

Joyce DiDonato (Didon), Michael Spyres (Énée), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Cassandre); Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg, John Nelson

'The Strasbourg orchestra play out of their boots for Nelson throughout: the entire score glitters, and the woodwind in particular cover themselves in glory ...Spyres’s Énee is a revelation – the tremendously taxing role could have been written for him...The process of working on this role seems to have unleashed darker colours and a formidable ‘blade’ in [DiDonato's] silvery mezzo.' (Katherine Cooper)

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

'There’s not a single bar that feels heavy or stodgy, and yet amongst the lightness there is real weight when required...Aside from that, what impressed me most was the absolute clarity achieved, with every facet of Brahms’s orchestration there to be heard...This set is quite exceptional, and surely one of the finest to have come along in recent years.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Bojan Čičić (violin), The Illyria Consort

'It’s testament to Čičić’s artistry that you’re never aware of the difficulties being surmounted – fistfuls of the most awkwardly-written chords are dispatched with immaculate intonation and voicing, whilst the contrapuntal sections in the elaborate fugues have a clarity to rival the finest keyboard-player.' (Katherine Cooper)

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

Boris Giltburg (piano), Pavel Nikl (viola), Pavel Haas Quartet

'Something that always takes my breath away with this quartet is the range and breadth of dynamics and tone colours that they produce, as well as the perfect blend of sound that they make whilst still allowing individual members’ contributions to come to the fore when required...[Giltburg] genuinely feels like an organic part of the group, never dominating unnecessarily, and yet coming to the fore when appropriate.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Jeremy Ovenden (tenor), Andrew Foster-Williams (bass); Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh

'McCreesh’s new translation is a triumph, and will surely have an illustrious career beyond this recording...One of the great joys of this set is the huge dynamic and emotional range afforded by the expanded forces – the introspective recitatives are, in their way, as spine-tingling as the 70-strong chorus belting out their lusty paeans to wine, women and weather.' (Katherine Cooper)

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

London Symphony Orchestra & The Monteverdi Choir, Sir John Eliot Gardiner

'There's a real lightness of touch in the Overture, and I was delighted with the way that Gardiner manages to make familiar music sound fresh...I wouldn’t have thought there was anything Gardiner could have done to invigorate that most familiar of tunes, namely the Wedding March, and yet that’s exactly what he does.' (James Longstaffe)

Available Formats: SACD + Blu-ray, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Francesco Piemontesi (piano), Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Andrew Manze

'Everything that I admired about Piemontesi's previous recording - intelligent, articulate phrasing, tidy passagework and absolute precision in the faster sections - is brought across to these performances...I constantly marvelled at the flexibility of his left hand, with every semiquaver perfectly in place, performed with crystal clarity. It's such a graceful, clean sound, and never smudgy.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Krystian Zimerman (piano)

'His voicing of chords is exquisite, and by bringing out the accents and other dynamic markings, he highlights some of the more unexpected harmonies, making it sound eerily modern in places...The way he shapes a phrase is a joy to listen to, and he knows exactly how to pace the longer movements.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Kirill Gerstein (piano), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

'Scriabin's orchestration is always rich and inventive, and Petrenko ensures that we hear every hand-stopped horn entry and quietly ominous timpani pronouncement...In the Concerto he proves to be a first-rate accompanist, giving Gerstein the flexibility he needs to dash off the many flourishes that Scriabin requires.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Matthias Goerne (baritone), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding

'What I found particularly impressive was how Goerne successfully conveys so many characters and varying emotions vocally. After his wistful Hans Sachs, he slips perfectly into King Marke’s expression of pained betrayal...If you’ll pardon the pun, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra are on fire here album full of masterful singing and expert orchestral playing throughout.' (James Longstaffe)

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