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 Awards, BBC Music Magazine Awards 2019: Shortlist

BBCMMAwards 2019The nominations for this year's BBC Music Magazine Awards have just been announced, with a potential long-list of over 200 five-star recordings from the past twelve months pared down to 21 finalists (three contenders spread over seven categories).

You can browse the short-list and listen to snippets of the discs below; to place your vote, visit the magazine's website here. The winners will be announced in a ceremony at Kings Place in London on Wednesday 10th April.


Musicaeterna, Teodor Currentzis

'Currentzis has a clear and unified vision of the music’s trajectory, his interpretation grabbing you by the scruff of the neck…Most remarkable of all is the clarity of sound achieved here which ensures every single layer in Tchaikovsky’s miraculously inventive orchestration can be heard.'

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

Doric String Quartet, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Peter Oundjian

'The RSNO’s playing captures all the delicacy, grandeur and zing of Adams’s complex score [Absolute Jest], while the Doric String Quartet brings sumptuous sweetness and laser-like clarity to its solo part…There follows a magnificent reading of Naïve and Sentimental Music.'

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

Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Ádám Fischer

'It’s the most lightly, as in ineffably, characterised Mahler One I’ve heard since Kubelík’s. Everything flows, moves forward without rush…And when he needs to, Fischer pulls out the stops – a whole sequence of them as he magnificently marshals the final triumph...Masterly.'

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


Christian Tetzlaff (violin), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hannu Lintu

'This is altogether a fine performance [of the Second Concerto]...[in the First Concerto] Tetzlaff again produces playing that’s warmly lyrical and dazzlingly virtuosic, by turns. With the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu on top form, this is an easy recommendation.'

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

Daniil Trifonov (piano), Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

'Trifonov is wonderfully alive to [the Fourth’s] mercurial piano writing, achieving astonishing crystalline delicacy in the elaborate filigree passage work and negotiating unexpected juxtapositions of mood…Nézet-Séguin and the superbly responsive Philadelphia Orchestra follow the soloist’s every interpretative nuance.'

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

Michael Collins (clarinet/conductor), Swedish Chamber Orchestra

'Michael Collins thrills and charms in these characterful concertos, which deserve to be as well known as those by Mozart and Weber.'

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


Lucy Crowe (Galatea), Allan Clayton (Acis), Benjamin Hulett (Damon), Jeremy Budd (Coridon) & Neal Davies (Polyphemus); Early Opera Company, Christian Curnyn

'Channelling Handel’s enthusiasm, Curnyn and his fellow artists forge a musical rhetoric powered by native sonorities…Lucy Crowe as Galatea excels especially in turning words, and word-pictures, into sound…This is, altogether, a benchmark that will be hard to beat.'

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

Gerald Finley (Robert Oppenheimer), Julia Bullock (Kitty Oppenheimer); BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra, John Adams

'Finley ‘owns’ the characterisation of J Robert Oppenheimer…and Julia Bullock’s Kitty [is] the most ardent possible. All else is compelling on every level…Superbly recorded, the BBC Singers and Symphony Orchestra pull total focus under Adams’s ever more experienced baton, and the last half hour is stunning…Batter my heart indeed.'

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

Albina Shagimuratova (Semiramide), Daniela Barcellona (Arsace), Mirco Palazzi (Assur), Barry Banks (Idreno); Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment & Opera Rara Chorus, Sir Mark Elder

'Semiramide has more than its share of grandness, and in the trumpet-crowned procession as the Queen of Babylon prepares to announce her choice of king you can't help but hear a pre-echo of Verdi's Aida, still nearly 50 years in the future. Elder always has an ear for the lightness in such episodes, and they sound hearty but never bombastic. The Opera Rara Chorus sings some tough music thrillingly well.'

Available Formats: 4 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC


Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh

'Sweet tuning and subtle dynamic distinctions mark James MacMillan’s Ave maris stella...Technically the most difficult piece is probably Matthew Martin’s A Rose Magnificat…It is daily meat and drink to the superlative Gabrieli choir, who give a formidably encompassing performance…another outstanding issue from this outstanding team.'

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

'In this ingeniously assembled collection they delight us with songs of defiance and gentle rebuke directed against the gossips and naysayers of 14th and 15th century society. The result is a magical sound-carpet of music…The fluid ‘conversational’ style of these accomplished musicians enables them to provide especially realistic and vivid projections of the texts.'

Available Format: CD

Trinity College Choir Cambridge, Stephen Layton

'One feature of his music is its wide range of historical reference…clothed in Park’s own musical language, which is contemporary in orientation but with resonant harmony which falls easily on the ear. He chooses texts imaginatively and has a special gift for radiant choral ‘orchestration’…Altogether, this is a welcome introduction to a composer of impressive achievement and considerable promise.'

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


Sabine Devieilhe (soprano), Alexandre Tharaud (piano), Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth

'Devieilhe’s singing lights up the good, the bad and the music of Ambroise Thomas with her vivid, pure tone and apparently limitless breath. Alexandre Tharaud pops in as a sensitive piano partner; Les Siècles and François-Xavier Roth offer idiomatic, dusky, gut-lined softness and clarity in the orchestral numbers.'

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

Florian Boesch (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano)

'Boesch’s flexible and rich-grained baritone blends with the colourful support of Malcolm Martineau at the piano to offer splendidly characterised accounts of the Schumann…It’s in the Mahler, though, that Boesch and Martineau reach new heights…The emotional impact is devastating.'

Available Format: CD

Stéphane Degout (baritone), Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon

'[Degout] possesses the rare facility to mix raw muscle with the subtlest caresses…In the infernal symphonies that pepper Enfers, the band attacks the score with an almost fiendish ferocity…Don’t miss this rollercoaster ride through the underworld!'

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC


Szymon Krzeszowiec, Krzysztof Lasoń, Małgorzata Wasiucionek, Arkadiusz Kubica, Wojciech Świtała (piano), Silesian Quartet, Polish Cello Quartet

'They are works of real substance and originality. The First (1952) is an assured achievement with a powerful identity…her Second Quintet is confrontational and virtuosic. The Silesians tap into its nervous energy…Look out for more Bacewicz: her time has come.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin), Polina Leschenko (piano)

'Playing of such consummate ease combined with involvement and attention to detail...Simply, this is one of the finest, most musically sensitive recordings to have come my way for some time, and the neat title title ‘Deux’ exactly encapsulates the partnership on display. ... When the recording finished I listened to it all over again – it really is that good.'

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

Isabelle Faust (violin), Alexander Melnikov (piano), Tanguy de Williencourt (piano), Magali Mosnier (flute), Antoine Tamestit viola), Xavier de Maistre (harp), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello), Javier Perianes (piano)

'Listening to Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov deftly tracing the evanescent contours of the Violin Sonata comes as something of a revelation...One of the most captivating releases of the Debussy centenary year.'

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


'There’s no doubting that [Shibe] is an artist blessed with grace to spare, and a roar that is fearsome...Like Julian Bream before him, Shibe has a natural yet creative rapport with 17th-century lute music…Both refract the music through a generous soundworld that demands you savour every note.'

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

Víkingur Ólafsson (piano)

'I expected this to be good; but just how good it was was still a surprise…Ólafsson creates a ravishing musical sequence. Every track has its own allure, and many reflect a virtuosity which is never flaunted; he treats the preludes and fugues as though they had been conceived as tone-poems or études.'

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

Alexander Melnikov, with Olga Pashchenko (piano)

'Prepare to be spellbound…It is not only the individual sounds that impress…but also Melnikov’s ability to combine seemingly contradictory textures, with sharply drawn detail surrounded by a shimmering haze as if multiple pianos are being used. This is indeed compelling pianism.'

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

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