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Awards, Recordings of the Year 2022 - Our Top 10

Classical Top 10 2022After several rounds of highly enjoyable debate and many hours of listening, the Presto editorial team have finally decided on our Top 10 Recordings of 2022 - the albums which really made us listen afresh to core repertoire, told absorbing stories through their imaginative programming, or made compelling cases for music that was new to us all...

We'll be despatching physical awards to all our winners over the next week, so do look out for a photo-gallery in the not-too-distant future, and you can browse the list of all 100 finalists here.

Julian Prégardien (Evangelist), Stéphane Degout (Christus), Sabine Devieilhe & Hana Blažiková (sopranos), Lucile Richardot (mezzo), Tim Mead (countertenor), Reinoud Van Mechelen & Emiliano Gonzalez Toro (tenors), Christian Immler (bass-baritone); Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon

'Amid so many accounts of the St Matthew Passion over the years that have reached for the stars with sweeping, operatic drama, Pichon’s deliberately does the opposite...Shorn of any pretentions, one of the most emotive stories ever told re-emerges with focus and clarity.' (David Smith)

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

Boris Giltburg (piano), Pavel Nikl (viola), Pavel Haas Quartet

'I always find it extraordinary that a small group can produce such a huge sound, full of raw power and magnificent enormity. I'm not suggesting they are the only string quartet in existence capable of making a loud noise, but there's something about the Pavel Haas Quartet that makes them stand out in this regard, not just in terms of actual volume but also the presence and vitality of their tone.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Lise Davidsen (soprano), Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)

'This is one of those albums where the synergy between the two artists and their mutual affinity with the repertoire combine to truly spellbinding effect. Davidsen may be destined for Isolde and Brünnhilde, but she’s also capable of extraordinary delicacy when painting on a smaller canvas – and Andsnes backs her to the hilt throughout.' (Katherine Cooper)

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

Sinfonia of London, John Wilson

'Every single piece is given the respect it deserves, and Wilson is never content just to go along with any performing traditions that might have accrued over the years...I can't really recall any other album recently that has been so full of such joyous, exuberant, and infectiously emotional playing.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Fatma Said (soprano), Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Sascha Goetzel

'It’s evident that the singer’s love and affinity for all this music is grounded in real-life experience on the dance-floor: the rhythmic impetus and ebb and flow of each number is clearly born of something beyond the notes on the page, whether she’s elongating the phrases of a Viennese waltz or tapping into the raw energy of Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires.' (Katherine Cooper)

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

Francesco Piemontesi (piano), Orchestre de La Suisse Romande, Jonathan Nott

'Piemontesi's strength seems to be that the quieter he plays, the more he draws you in and makes you listen...In theory this combination of pieces might seem like a somewhat eclectic grouping, and yet in practice it works beautifully, all held together by Piemontesi's impeccable solo contributions and the authoritative guiding hand of Nott at the helm.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Johan Dalene (violin), Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgårds

'I think it's the Nielsen that is the star of the show, with a splendidly authoritative reading backed up by outstanding orchestral support...full credit should go to Storgårds (himself a violinist) for ensuring that even in the most precariously intricate sections, the precision of the interplay between Dalene and the players of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is upheld to a most impressive standard' (James Longstaffe)

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

Krystian Zimerman (piano)

'Often utilising extreme amounts of rubato in the way he shapes the music's phrases, Zimerman's interpretations of this repertoire are frequently highly idiosyncratic and yet always thoughtful, intelligent, and full of the staggering technical and expressive mastery for which he is hugely renowned.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Golda Schultz (soprano), Jonathan Ware (piano)

'I can see myself returning to this beautifully-conceived recital of songs by five female composers for months to come - much of the pleasure comes from hearing some familiar texts in less familiar settings, but Schultz's radiant, ardent sound is a joy in itself. She's a born storyteller, and Ware gets plenty of opportunity to shine equally brightly in the Mayer songs in particular.' (Katherine Cooper)

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

nne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Boston Symphony Orchestra, John Williams

'It constantly teems with new material, none of which outstays its welcome, merely revealing more of its secrets each time. No small amount of credit must also go to Mutter, who unfailingly holds the listener to attention and is in complete command of what she has described as some unbelievably technically challenging passages.' (James Longstaffe)

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

Debut Recording of the Year

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Domingo Hindoyan

'With razor-sharp ensemble, fabulously detailed textures and a keen awareness of the dance impulses driving much of the music here, this debut recording from Domingo Hindoyan suggests that he's already completely at home with his new orchestra: the many tempo-changes in Debussy's Jeux feel absolutely organic rather than micro-managed, and the Faun's Afternoon has rarely sounded so unashamedly sensual.' (Katherine Cooper)

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

World Premiere Recording of the Year (Rediscovery)

Marian Consort

'Long known to scholars as an influential music theorist, Lusitano's own musical output is extensive and impactful - combining an assured grasp of the intricacies of post-Josquin composition with an instinct for emotional directness, it wears its composer's learning lightly. The Marian Consort bring a selection of Lusitano's choral works to vivid life on this groundbreaking recording.' (David Smith)

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

World Premiere Recording of the Year (New Music)

Nicholas Phan (tenor), Brooklyn Rider, Eric Jacobsen

'Setting texts including extracts from letters and interviews with immigrants from China and Sicily, Muhly's powerful and timely new song-cycle for tenor and string quartet explores what he describes as 'different kinds of shared American stories', and is sung with haunting beauty and fierce commitment here by its dedicatee Nicholas Phan.' (Katherine Cooper)

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

DVD/Blu-ray of the Year

Sara Jakubiak (Francesca), Jonathan Tetelman (Paolo), Ivan Inverardi (Giovanni), Charles Workman (Malatestino dall’Occhio); Deutsche Oper Berlin, Carlo Rizzi, Christof Loy

'With terrific performances from Tetelman and Jakubiak (both charismatic singing actors who fare brilliantly under the camera's close scrutiny) and Rizzi summoning some incandescent orchestral playing from his Berlin forces, this is an utterly absorbing account of Zandonai's 1914 opera - given in a classy, coherent staging by Christo Loy which should win the work legions of new fans.' (Katherine Cooper)

Also available on Blu-ray.

Available Format: DVD Video

Special Achievement

Vaughan Williams 150 Project - Albion Records

'In this anniversary year, no-one has been more active in promoting the works of Vaughan Williams than the Vaughan Williams Society, and its label Albion Records. Aiming to include at least one world premiere recording on every album, they’ve devoted attention to the composer’s extensive output of folksong arrangements, his works for brass band, transcriptions of his symphonies for organ and piano (particularly apt in the wake of two years of uphill struggles for orchestral musicmaking) and his choral works. If you thought Vaughan Williams was just a symphonist, Albion Records will show you how much more there is to him.' (David Smith)

Explore the full series >>.