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 Awards, Schallplattenkritik Awards 2018

Schallplattenkritik Awards, 2017 2017Established in 1963 to set the "most rigorous standards for supreme achievement and quality" in recorded music, the German Record Critics’ Annual Awards are among the most prestigious accolades in the European music industry. This year's winners were announced at the weekend - read on for details of the classical victors (with thanks to my colleague David for translations from the German reviews!).

Lucile Richardot (contralto), Ensemble Correspondances, Sébastien Daucé

'[Richardot's] timbre at once bewilders and captivates; the tessitura extends from supple chest voice up to a glassy, dark-toned mezzo range. Her accuracy is matched by great sensitivity, which bears fruit in the repertoire of her new album, a selection of rare Baroque musique from seventeenth-century England. As she charts her course between songs, airs and dramatic scenes, Richardot imparts a shadowy beauty to some real discoveries such as William Webb’s “Powerful Morpheus”, accompanied with bewitching subtlety by Ensemble Correspondances under Sébastien Daucé.'

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

Misha Didyk, Alexey Markov, Vladimir Stoyanov, Svetlana Aksenova, Larissa Diadkova; Chorus of Dutch National Opera, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons

'The old Guckkastentheater with its podiums, lights and backdrops of mirrors is still enough for Stefan Herheim. He uses it like a magician’s glove, letting characters disappear, ideas surface, identities change – song becomes pictures, pictures congeal into nightmares. In Herheim’s epoch-making staging...Tchaikovsky himself is in the leading role. His ordeal as a persecuted homosexual is brought into breathtaking juxtaposition with Pushkin’s tragedy of the outsider and gambler Hermann...An almost entirely outstanding cast of singers are fired and inspired by Mariss Jansons’ elegiac reading of the score; their finest hour!'

Available Format: 2 DVD Videos

Misha Didyk, Alexey Markov, Vladimir Stoyanov, Svetlana Aksenova, Larissa Diadkova; Chorus of Dutch National Opera, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariss Jansons

SOUND FORMAT: BD: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD MA 5.0

PICTURE: NTSC 16:9

Available Format: Blu-ray

Anita Rachvelishvili (mezzo), Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Giacomo Sagripanti

'The young Georgian mezzo...makes a truly spectacular debut on disc. The glowing intensity of her focused voice and her assured sense of style bring Teresa Berganza or Marilyn Horne to mind, while her naturally dark timbre evokes Olga Borodina. Rachvelishvili has a command of every shade of expression, from seduction (Carmen and Dalila), fragility (Charlotte and Santuzza) and self-confidence (Eboli and Sapho). This recording is more than a pledge of great things to come; it is a confirmation of supreme artistry.'

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

Christian Tetzlaff (violin)

'These six works by Bach for solo violin are the most profound examples imaginable of virtuoso music. Christian Tetzlaff has now recorded them for the second time – even more thoughtful and more pregnant with meaning than before. Born in Hamburg in 1966 and educated in Lübeck and Cincinnati, he has for a long time been considered to be one of today’s most intelligent and multifaceted classical artists...Tetzlaff plays Bach’s legendary dance-suites with exemplary precision and articulation, and with an emphasis that pulls the listener in.'

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