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 Awards, Gramophone Awards 2020 - the top three in each category

Gramophone Awards 2020 ShortlistThe three finalists in each of the ten categories for the 2020 Gramophone Awards were announced on Friday, with winners to be revealed on 22nd September; though there will be no live event this year, an online ceremony will be live-streamed on Medici TV on the evening of October 6th, when details of special prizes including Artist and Recording of the Year will also be unveiled...

Chamber

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

'What makes this CD unmissable is the Veress Trio, a masterpiece and a performance to match.'

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

James Ehnes (violin), Andrew Armstrong (piano)

'The freshness and spontaneity of these interpretations is unfaltering, as is the instantaneous rapport and subtle, crystal-clear tonal beauty of the pair’s playing.'

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

Marc-André Hamelin (piano), Takács Quartet

'They allow every passionate detail to come across yet preserve a sense of nobility and innate grace that I always associate with Dohnányi.'

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

Choral

Joshua Ellicott, Sophie Bevan, Fflur Wyn, Mary Bevan, Jess Dandy, Hugo Hymas, Matthew Brook, Vitali Rozynko Dunedin Consort, John Butt

'This new Samson now becomes the top recommendation: for its uniformly excellent soloists, its excitingly ‘present’ choral singing and, above all, its more urgent sense of theatre.'

Available Format: 3 CDs

Benjamin Bruns (Evangelist), Christian Immler (Christus); Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki

'One never doubts Bach or Suzuki’s belief in its importance for mankind. The musicians convey it with infectious zeal...Generic early music politesse is relegated to the shadows.'

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

Gabrieli, Paul McCreesh

'One can imagine the virtuosity required by every contributor, at every turn, to make this a reality, let alone a dazzling triumph.'

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

Concerto

Martin Helmchen (piano), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Andrew Manze

'Stand[s] high and proud for its artistry, poetry, stylish musicianship and, perhaps above all, rapport between soloist and conductor. This really does feel like a meeting of minds.'

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

Benjamin Grosvenor (piano), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Elim Chan

'He has already lived with these works for long enough to strike a balance between thoughtfulness and youthful spontaneity…Chan and the RSNO offer solid support.'

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

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano), Manchester Camerata, Gábor Takács-Nagy

'This series of discs is shaping up to be a serious front-runner in a cycle of works that has never wanted for fine recordings.'

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

Contemporary

Mark Stone (baritone), Kirill Gerstein (piano), Christianne Stotijn (mezzo), Boston Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Adès

'For proof that Adès does what he does with mind-boggling brilliance, look no further.'

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

Nash Ensemble, Martyn Brabbins

'These compositions show increasing refinement of style and sharpening of dramatic atmosphere.'

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

Matthias Brandt, Topi Lehtipuu, Iris Vermillion; Antonio Pappano, Peter Eötvös

'The performers sound at one in their presentation...The whole is more than the sum of its fragments, compelling and involving.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Early Music

Les Arts Florissants, Paul Agnew

'The fleeting nature of Gesualdo’s flurried passages is a particular speciality of Les Arts Florissants.'

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

New York Polyphony

'Rich and vibrant in texture, [the Stabat mater] draws on this ensemble’s deep palette of vocal colours.'

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

Doulce Mémoire, Denis Raisin Dadre

'Sparked by careful research and fruitful obsessions, the performances are deliciously atmospheric. The matchmaking process itself is fascinating.'

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

Instrumental

'Above all there’s that sense of being completely at one with Beethoven himself. And that, in the end, is what makes this such a magnificent achievement.'

Available Formats: 9 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Stephen Hough (piano)

'Blend imaginative yet learned interpretation, profound sensitivity and poetry, and personal charisma, and you have here one of the finest accounts of Brahms’s late piano works on record.'

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

'No pianist in my experience has matched Osborne’s finale [in No. 8] for acuity of touch, pinpoint transparency and airborne suppleness.'

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

Opera

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

'Warner’s handsome and perceptive staging of Barber’s Vanessa has probably done more to silence the work’s naysayers than any in recent memory.'

Available Format: DVD Video

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

Picture format: 16:9

Sound format: LPCM Stereo / 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Available Format: Blu-ray

Benjamin Bernheim (Faust), Véronique Gens (Marguerite), Andrew Foster-Williams (Méphistophélès), Jean-Sébastien Bou (Valentin); Les Talens Lyriques, Flemish Radio Choir, Christophe Rousset

'It’s little short of a revelation, in which some century and a half of performance tradition is scraped away...Rousset underpins it all with conducting that is fleet and dramatically engaged.'

Available Formats: 3 CDs + Book, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Joyce DiDonato (Agrippina), Elsa Benoit (Poppea), Luca Pisaroni (Claudio), Franco Fagioli (Nerone), Jakub Józef Orliński (Ottone); Il Pomo d'Oro, Maxim Emelyanychev

'With DiDonato nonpareil in the title-role and a uniformly strong cast, this now becomes a first choice for Handel’s Venetian masterpiece.'

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Orchestral

Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth

'Roth seems to have an emotional hotline to Berlioz, alive to every twist and turn of the composer’s fevered passions.'

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

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Jiří Bělohlávek

'The Czech Philharmonic give their collective all; with the best sound Decca has yet achieved at the Rudolfinum, this can be placed next to Charles Mackerras as the finest modern Asrael.'

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

Gidon Kremer (violin) Kremerata Baltica, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

'It takes a performance of fierce concentration and absolute dedication to ensure this music’s hold on an audience...this has to be one of the most important symphonic releases of the year.'

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

Recital

Kate Lindsey (mezzo), Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

'She brings her stage experience to bear in dramatic readings whose intelligent responses to the differing nuances of these three pieces are what really make the project spark.'

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

Sandrine Piau (soprano), Le Concert de la Loge, Julien Chauvin

'With her silvery tone, immaculate sense of line and telling if understated way with words, Piau is very much at home in this repertory.'

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

Jakub Józef Orliński (countertenor), Il Pomo d’Oro, Maxim Emelyanychev

'He’s no convincing bad boy...but this supple and sweet-toned instrument has plenty to bring elsewhere...Il Pomo d’Oro offer all their usual technicolour support and showmanship.'

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

Solo Vocal

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

'Not only does Spence’s voice offer a rare mix of steely strength and velvety tenderness but his bright, vibrant timbre communicates a touching, wide-eyed sense of ardent longing, tinged with melancholy.'

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

Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano)

'Noble, refined, heartfelt, supremely moving and often beautiful in the extreme…totally sincerity backed up by superb vocalism, matched at every turn by Drake.'

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

Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Camilla Tilling (soprano), Gerold Huber (piano)

'[Gerhaher] recaptures the wonderful feeling of studied spontaneity that made the first volume of the series so special…Certainly a top choice for this wonderful cycle.'

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

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