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 Awards, BBC Music Magazine Awards 2019 - The Winners!

BBCMMAwards 2019I'm coming to you direct from Kings Place in London this evening, where winners of this year's BBC Music Magazine Awards ceremony have just been announced. The coveted Recording of the Year Award has gone to Icelandic pianist Vikingur Ólafsson for his ‘ravishing’ Bach recital on Deutsche Grammophon, and the new Personality of the Year prize to British violinist Tasmin Little, who recently announced her plans to retire from performance in 2020.

Recording of the Year and Instrumental

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


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. I don’t know a more convincing interpretation of those last pages…Masterly.'

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


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)

'Until recently this music was almost invariably viewed and experienced through a prism of 19th-century rhetoric – listening to Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov deftly tracing the evanescent contours of the Violin Sonata comes therefore as something of a revelation…Most striking of all is the enchanting triple sonata, whose harp-inflected musings appear to float free of musical gravity in this hypnotic account…One of the most captivating releases of the Debussy centenary year.'

Available Formats: CD, 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

'Curnyn has hit on a secret that eluded previous interpreters of this work: it was conceived specifically to showcase the beauty of the English language…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


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


Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh

'Sweet tuning and subtle dynamic distinctions mark James MacMillan’s Ave maris stella, with gleamingly pure-toned contributions from the soprano…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

Jury Awards


Antoine Tamestit (viola), Signum Quartett Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Daniel Harding

'This is a wonderfully rich and rewarding concerto, packed with inventive orchestral detail. Widmann seems to move between different worlds ion the five interlinked movements, and the slower passages yield particularly haunting music…From Tamestit’s searing playing, to the tight rapport with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Harding, this is an impressive premiere recording.'

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


Jacques Imbrailo (Billy Budd), Toby Spence (Vere), Brindley Sherratt (Claggart); Teatro Real Madrid, Ivor Bolton, Deborah Warner (director)

'In surely Britten’s greatest dramatic opera, we have here three superb singer-actors…there’s no sail in sight on stage designer Michael Levine’s not so much abstracted as deconstructed ship…Yet ultimately none of this gets in the way of the outstanding central performances in a production, superbly conducted by Ivor Bolton, which brought me close to tears.'

Available Format: 2 DVD Videos

Jacques Imbrailo (Billy Budd), Toby Spence (Vere), Brindley Sherratt (Claggart); Teatro Real Madrid, Ivor Bolton, Deborah Warner (director)

Audio – 2.0PCM and 5.1 DTSHD Master Audio

Video - 1 BD50

Full HD 16.9

Available Format: Blu-ray

Newcomer of the Year

Laura van der Heijden (cello), Petr Limonov (piano)

'As these heartfelt performances demonstrate, these are not cowed and dutifully conservative works…Van der Heijden plays with attractively songful tone throughout, rich yet grainy in her instrument’s bass register. She is well-matched by Limonov’s sensitive piano playing, their phrasing very much hand in glove and yet spontaneous-sounding.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year

Tasmin Little

The British violinist, who announced her intention to retire from the concert-platform in 2020 at the beginning of this year, is the recipient of the inaugural Personality of the Year Award; she has four more recordings on Chandos in the offing before packing away her instrument for good. Look out for Katherine's exclusive interview with her about her life in music and plans for the immediate future tomorrow...

Browse the full list of Tasmin Little's currently available recordings here .