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 Gramophone Choices, Gramophone Editor's Choices - Awards Issue 2021

Gramophone Awards Issue 2021Michael Spyres's boundary-defying Baritenor (on which the shape-shifting American singer moves effortlessly between roles as diverse as Donizetti's Tonio, Wagner's Lohengrin, Rossini's Figaro and Verdi's Conte di Luna) occupies pride of place in the latest issue, with Mark Pullinger declaring that he 'would happily pay good money to hear Spyres sing di Luna or Hamlet' and noting that 'the traditional tenor repertoire here is thrilling, too.' The album was one of our September Recordings of the Week, and do look out for Katherine's upcoming interview with Michael in which he discusses some of the great singers past and present who've inspired him to think outside the fach system's boxes...

Recording of the Month

Michael Spyres (baritenor), Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Marko Letonja

'The range of roles is astonishing, but then so are these performances...Spyres really is a tenor – and a baritone, it seems – who has the operatic world at his feet.'

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

Editor's Choices

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Vladimir Jurowski

'The quality of the performance and the coherence of Jurowski’s vision become ever clearer as we approach the summit.'

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

'If you like your Mozart taut and urgent, with no concessions to Mozartian ‘charm’, you should find these brilliantly executed performances as riveting as I do.'

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

Janine Jansen (violin), Antonio Pappano (piano)

'What emerges from this comparative listening odyssey...is simply an even richer love and admiration for Jansen’s own artistry.'

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

Ilya Gringolts (violin)

'Gringolts isn’t just a safe pair of hands for such a project. He’s also an exciting one, which this recording illustrates eloquently.'

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

Ruby Hughes (soprano), Joseph Middleton (piano)

'[Hughes] and the excellent Joseph Middleton create a remarkable sound world of intense intimacy, captured by BIS in demonstration-quality sound.'

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

'Cinquecento are clearly in their comfort zone and immediately find a sweet spot for optimal polyphonic momentum that also allows the phrases room to expand.'

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

Jakub Józef Orliński (countertenor), Il Pomo d’Oro, Francesco Corti

'An album that reinforces Orliński as one of the most striking young talents not just in countertenor singing but in Baroque music more broadly.'

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

Zefiro, Alfredo Bernardini

'Bernardini conducts with impeccable dramatic pacing and perceptive shaping of details...as one expects from Zefiro, there is magnificent playing from assorted woodwinds.'

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

Lea Desandre (mezzo), Jupiter, Thomas Dunford

'This is a stonkingly good album. It makes me wonder: what exactly are these enviously intelligent, inventive and generous musicians drinking?'

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

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month

Jonas Kaufmann (Paul), Marlis Petersen (Marietta/Marie), Andrej Filonczyk (Frank/Fritz), Jennifer Johnston (Brigitta); Bayerische Staatsoper, Kirill Petrenko, Simon Stone (director)

'There’s a depth and emotional intelligence to this staging that disarmed my initial resistance...on every level, a glorious achievement.'

Available Format: 2 DVD Videos

Jonas Kaufmann (Paul), Marlis Petersen (Marietta/Marie), Andrej Filonczyk (Frank/Fritz), Jennifer Johnston (Brigitta); Bayerische Staatsoper, Kirill Petrenko, Simon Stone (director)

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Available Format: Blu-ray

Reissue/Archive Issue of the Month

'Perhaps the best place to sample, initially, would be the Archduke’s endlessly songful slow movement. For an example of the Trio’s elegance, try the same work’s finale.'

Available Format: 4 CDs