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 Awards, Gramophone Awards 2022 - the top three in each category

Gramophone Awards 2022The three finalists in each of the twelve categories for the 2022 Gramophone Awards were announced this morning, with Isabelle Faust's recording of Stravinsky's sardonic Soldier's Tale, Raphaël Pichon's St Matthew Passion with Pygmalion, the second volume of Leif Ove Andsnes's Mozart Momentum, and Alina Ibragimova's scintillating account of Paganini's Caprices among the albums in contention.

The winners will be revealed on 4th October, when details of special prizes including the Lifetime Achievement Award and Recording of the Year will also be unveiled. We've put together a special offer on all the category finalists, with up to 25% off the nominated albums.

Chamber

Belcea Quartet, Tabea Zimmermann (viola), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello)

'While I can think of numerous recordings of these works that offer affection and graciousness in abundance, I can’t think of another that’s as ear-opening as it is warm-hearted.'

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

Isabelle Faust (violin), Alexander Melnikov (piano), Dominique Horwitz (speaker)

'Faust and her colleagues do indeed evoke the mise en scène of performers pulling up in a dusty square late one afternoon and performing from the back of an old truck.'

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

Quatuor Ebène

'With sound of unsparing immediacy and Merlin’s typically provocative notes, this release testifies to the Ébène’s ambition and, moreover, its attainment.'

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

Choral

Dorothee Mields (soprano), Alex Potter (countertenor), Thomas Hobbs (tenor), Peter Kooij (bass), Collegium Vocale Gent. Philippe Herreweghe

'No one else peels back those tactile homogeneous phrases with quite such luminosity and deep-seated finesse as Collegium Vocale.'

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

Julian Prégardien (Evangelist), Stéphane Degout (Christus), Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon

'With its glowing inner vitality and penetrating observations, this is a Passion that makes a very definite statement about what this work can communicate in our times.'

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

Ensemble Correspondances, Sébastien Daucé

'Vocal forces of just 10 singers supported by the same number of instrumentalists bring a level of intimacy that is entirely appropriate to this programme.'

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

Concerto

Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin), Berliner Philharmoniker, Daniel Harding, Kirill Petrenko, Alan Gilbert

'This surely has to be the version of the Berg you go to first, with the Beethoven warranting a recommendation that’s virtually as strong.'

Available Format: 2 CDs + Blu-ray Audio

Frank Dupree (piano/conductor), Rosanne Philippens (violin), Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn

'It’s the piano concerto that makes the strongest impression here. It’ll knock your socks off.'

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

Leif Ove Andsnes (piano/director), Christiane Karg (soprano), Matthew Truscott (violin), Frank-Michael Guthmann (cello), Mahler Chamber Orchestra

'Time and again Andsnes had me reaching for the score to confirm things I’d never noticed before...some of the finest Mozart-playing on the planet.'

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

Contemporary

Lapland Chamber Orchestra, John Storgårds

'The sounds Abrahamsen craves...hugely complex on the page but delectably simple to the ear, are exceptionally realised and recorded here.'

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

Barbara Hannigan (Gerda), Rachael Wilson (Kay, Katarina Dalayman (Grandmother / Old Lady / Finn Woman), Peter Rose (Snow Queen / Reindeer / Clock); Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Cornelius Meister, Andreas Kriegenburg

'Kriegenburg’s production...is not a show for kids, even if Abrahamsen’s opera might be – getting close to Andersen’s genius in recounting big ideas with little tales.'

Also available on Blu-ray.

Available Format: DVD Video

Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin), Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg, Gustavo Gimeno

'There is no mistaking the resourcefulness of his rhythmic patterning and his exhilarating capacity for bringing raw and refined materials into conjunction in orchestral writing.'

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

Early Music

Odhecaton, The Gesualdo Six, La Pifarescha, La Reverdie, Paolo Da Col

'Odhecaton steer a middle course and opt for a bigger sound than either[ The Hilliard Ensemble or De Labyrintho], something of which Ercole himself would have approved.'

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

thélème, Jean-Christophe Groffe

'Not only are the performances all on an extremely high level but there are quite a lot of pieces here that you cannot otherwise hear.'

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

Gothic Voices

'The account of Dunstable’s four-voice Veni Sancte Spiritus (one of the best-known, oft-recorded pieces of the 15th century) is unquestionably one of the finest yet made.'

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

Instrumental

Thomas Trotter (organ)

'His playing has a kind of natural empathy which so strongly inhabits the music that you almost forget that the performance is the work of a single individual player.'

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

Alina Ibragimova (violin)

'Ibragimova’s principal strength, aside from an all-facilitating technique, is her amazing imagination, an ability to turn each individual piece into a vivid narrative.'

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

'Ehnes’s ‘centrist’ approach keeps your attention focused on the music, leaving you to marvel at his technique only after you’ve stopped listening.'

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

Piano

Marc-André Hamelin (piano)

'Hamelin’s delight and relish are highly infectious...In short, I cannot think of a better introduction to CPE Bach on the modern piano than these two joyous discs.'

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

Mitsuko Uchida (piano)

'If her performance comes across as a breathtakingly extravagant display of intellect and imagination, that’s because this is what Beethoven’s music is.'

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

Igor Levit (piano)

'So what makes this special? To start with, he never goes into a studio without a clear vision in mind, and this album of Shostakovich and Stevenson is no exception.'

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

Orchestral

ara Gouzy (soprano), Salome Fischer (alto), Mingjie Lei (tenor), Manuel Walser (baritone), Le Concert des Nations, La Capella Nacional de Catalunya, Jordi Savall

'This is a very special release...Savall’s may well have just become my favourite period-instrument Beethoven cycle of them all.'

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

Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Kirill Petrenko

'Petrenko has a way of hearing deep into textures and harmonies that is at times really quite startling. He gives us X-ray ears.'

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

Sinfonia of London, John Wilson

'These militant, tightly controlled, sometimes breathtaking performances demand to be heard and may divide opinion.'

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

Opera

Julien Behr (Pelléas), Vannina Santoni (Mélisande), Alexandre Duhamel (Golaud), Marie-Ange Todorovitch (Geneviève), Jean Teitgen (Arkel), Hadrien Joubert (Yniold); Les Siècles, Chœur de l'Opéra de Lille François-Xavier Roth

'I enjoyed the orchestral contributions of Les Siècles and the lucidity that period instruments bring to Debussy’s score...there’s an almost clinical clarity to their playing.'

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

Asmik Grigorian (Rusalka), Eric Cutler (The Prince), Maxim Kuzmin-Karavaev (Vodník), Katarina Dalayman (Ježibaba), Karita Mattila (The Foreign Princess); Teatro Real, Ivor Bolton, Christof Loy

'Loy’s concept works well and the stylish production values make this one of the most successful Rusalkas on film...Central to the success is Asmik Grigorian’s outstanding, passionate Rusalka.

Also available on Blu-ray.

Available Format: 2 DVD Videos

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

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

Also available on Blu-ray.

Available Format: 2 DVD Videos

Voice & Ensemble

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

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

Véronique Gens (soprano), Ensemble Les Surprises, Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas

'Gens is in thrilling voice. She has the knack – harder, surely, in miscellaneous pieces than in a complete opera – of instantly getting to the heart of a character…Warmly recommended.'

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

Song

Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Gerold Huber (piano)

'A wonderful achievement and a marvel of sustained artistry: subtle, intelligent performances, impeccably prepared and movingly executed.'

Available Format: 11 CDs

Asmik Grigorian (soprano), Lukas Geniušas (piano)

'Even on disc, without the visuals, you can hear how Grigorian lives and breathes each song...Pianist Lukas Geniušas is an equal partner dramatically.'

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

Magdalena Kožená (mezzo), Yefim Bronfman (piano)

'The Czech mezzo is in prime form in songs that could have been written for her. She catches every mood and inflection with spontaneous immediacy.'

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

Spatial Audio

Sinfonia of London, John Wilson

'What really shines here is the illumination of so many colouristic permutations, sounding for all the world as if Ravel had just in this moment heard them.'

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

Cleveland Orchestra, Franz Welser-Möst

'Macbeth gets arguably its finest outing on disc here...The playing is fantastically detailed, thrilling in its accuracy and drive, while the recording itself, wonderfully engineered, is just glorious.'

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

Anna Lapwood (organ of Ely Cathedral)

'Lovers of exotic organ effects will find plenty to satisfy them in this atmospheric recording.'

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