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 Awards, BBC Music Magazine Awards 2020: The Winners!

BBCMM  Awards2020The planned ceremony last month was cancelled for obvious reasons, but this morning brings news of the winners of this year's BBC Music Magazine Awards - with Paul McCreesh's 'stellar' account of Purcell's King Arthur with Gabrieli named as Recording of the Year, and category-winners including Russian pianist Andrey Gugnin, Scottish tenor Nicky Spence, John Wilson and Sinfonia of London, and powerhouse American mezzo Jamie Barton (who takes the new Personality of the Year prize).

Until 13th July, we're offering discounts of up to 30% off the winning titles (please note that discounts do not currently apply to downloads), and will be bringing you interviews with some of the featured artists over the coming weeks.

Recording of the Year

Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh

'Twenty-five years’ experience of performing the Arthurian legend infuses this stellar recording. Packed with historical detail from its bespoke performing edition, the ensemble reveals new textures alongside vivid characterisation. It’s a tightknit team that deftly flits between contexts, capturing earthy dances, blissful delicacy and more than the odd wry smile.'

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

Orchestral

'John Wilson has reformed the Sinfonia of London, and, boy, does it sound good. There’s heart and soul in every note of Korngold’s remarkable Symphony in F sharp, the composer’s only symphony and one of his finest scores. Rarely has the Adagio packed such a powerful emotional punch.'

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

Concerto

Ivo Kahánek (piano), Bamberger Symphoniker, Jakub Hrůša

'Dvořák’s still underappreciated Piano Concerto comes across with exhilarating warmth under Kahánek’s fingers. He is equally convincing in the Martinů, and with Hrůša and the Bamberg Symphony makes this recording an essential part of any Czech music collection.’

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Chamber

Vilde Frang (violin), Barnabás Kelemen (violin), Lawrence Power (viola), Nicolas Altstaedt (cello), Alexander Lonquich (piano)

'Combining the lush Romanticism of early Bartók and a hauntingly applied brand of serialism from the little-known composer Sándor Veress, some of today’s leading young chamber players draw together a spellbinding programme from the byways of Hungarian chamber music. Once again Vilde Frang works curatorial miracles.'

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

Choral

Emma Tring (soprano), Guy Cutting (tenor), Choir of Merton College, Oxford, Benjamin Nicholas

'Jackson’s 2014 telling of the Passion story has the feel of an instant classic. Bright, imaginative instrumental colours are twinned with vivid word-setting, the texts either from the Gospels or by poets associated with the Oxford college. The result immediately engages the ear and lingers in the mind.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Vocal

Nicky Spence (tenor), Julius Drake (piano), Václava Housková (mezzo), VOICE, Victoria Samek (clarinet)

'Janáček’s song-cycle tells of forbidden love with an immediacy that demands extraordinary responses, and Nicky Spence offers all the ardent urgency, obsessive desperation and sweet vulnerability it needs. Julius Drake’s piano playing communicates with just as much power, beauty and subtlety.'

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

Instrumental

'Moscow-trained Andrey Gugnin’s name will be seared into your brain after hearing his Shostakovich. The Op. 34 Preludes are electrifying: mercurial brilliance, stunning articulation and an astonishing range of colour and dynamics. The ferocious energy and bleak, haunting poetry of the Sonatas is compelling. Shostakovich for the ages, utterly outstanding.'

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

Premiere

Eloisa-Fleur Thorn (violin), Mark Simpson (clarinet), Víkingur Ólafsson (piano), Benjamin Bellman (violin) BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, London Contemporary Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Ilan Volkov, Richard Baker, Andrew Gourlay

'The music of Edmund Finnis invites rather than demands attention – and the more it is given, the more its gifts unfold… Each work on this exquisite debut disc is, in effect, a constantly changing prism in which surface and depth are revealed in tactile, mutual oscillation.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

DVD/Blu-ray

Emma Bell (Vanessa), Virginie Verrez (Erika), Edgaras Montvidas (Anatol), Rosalind Plowright (The Old Baroness); The Glyndebourne Chorus & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jakub Hrůša (conductor) & Keith Warner (director)

'Vanessa is a great American masterpiece. Here now is the production and cast that Vanessa has been waiting for.'

Available Format: DVD Video

Emma Bell (Vanessa), Virginie Verrez (Erika), Edgaras Montvidas (Anatol), Rosalind Plowright (The Old Baroness); The Glyndebourne Chorus & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jakub Hrůša (conductor) & Keith Warner (director)

LPCM 2.0

5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Available Format: Blu-ray

Newcomer

Elicia Silverstein (violin)

'Elicia Silverstein's playing is warm and technically secure, with faultless intonation'.

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

Personality of the Year - Jamie Barton

The effervescent American dramatic mezzo triumphed at last year's Last Night of the Proms - turning in powerhouse performances of arias from Verdi's Don Carlo, Bizet's Carmen, and Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila and unfurling a Pride flag at the climax of Rule, Britannia! - and shortly afterwards sang her first title-role at the Metropolitan Opera in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. Her debut solo album on Pentatone, focusing on the music of her close friend Jake Heggie, will be released in September.

You can view Jamie Barton's full discography here.