Editor’s Choice – the best new classical albums: 2019 Awards issue

Gramophone Thu 17th October 2019

Martin Cullingford’s pick of the finest recordings from this month’s reviews

Awards issue 2019 Editor's Choice

Recording of the month

‘Anamorfosi’

Sols; Le Poème Harmonique / Vincent Dumestre

(Alpha)

An extraordinary new performance of Allegri’s Miserere which encourages us to rethink a familiar work; the wider programme adds a beautifully performed wider context. 

Read the Gramophone review

 

Braunfels. Pfitzner ‘The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol 79’

Markus Becker pf Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra / Constantin Trinks

(Hyperion)

A fascinating new addition to Hyperion’s consistently rewarding series.

Read the Gramophone review

 

Marais ‘La Gracieuse’

Robert Smith va da gamba et al 

(Resonus)

I was immediately struck by the sheer beauty of Robert Smith’s viola da gamba playing, joined by colleagues who share a sublime sense of musical rapport.

Read the Gramophone review

 

Smalley Chamber Works

Taryn Fiebig sop Darryl Poulsen hn James Cuddeford vn Scott Davie, Daniel Herscovitch pf Roger Smalley tam‑tams 

(Toccata Classics)

Roger Smalley’s music could hardly have stronger advocacy than from these players. 

Read the Gramophone review

 

JS Bach Cello Suites

Emmanuelle Bertrand vc

(Harmonia Mundi)

In a crowded catalogue, it takes something special to really stand out, and this compellingly committed, full-bodied Bach cycle from Emmanuelle Bertrand does exactly that.

Read the Gramophone review

 

Beethoven Complete Piano Sonatas

Igor Levit pf 

(Sony Classical)

Igor Levit’s albums have revealed a pianist of remarkable reflectiveness and refinement of touch. His complete survey of Beethoven’s sonatas is a fine achievement and a valuable addition to the catalogue.

Read the Gramophone review

 

‘From Palaces to Pleasure Gardens’

Thomas Trotter org 

(Regent)

A richly rewarding insight into Georgian London’s musical life and the diverse role the organ played in it, and a fabulous celebration of Christ Church Spitalfield’s glorious instrument.

Read the Gramophone review

 

Blow. Purcell ‘Elegy’

Iestyn Davies, James Hall countertens The King’s Consort / Robert King

(Vivat) 

There are few more consistently brilliant countenors then Iestyn Davies, joined here by a recent One to Watch, James Hall. 

Read the Gramophone review

 

Schubert. Brahms Schwanengesang, etc

Gerald Finley bar Julius Drake pf 

(Hyperion)

Gerald Finley is an eloquently communicative, and powerful, interpreter of Schubert’s late songs, united with an equally thoughtful Julius Drake; the Brahms songs are just as moving.

Read the Gramophone review

 

‘Magnificat’

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha 

(Signum)

Take one of today’s finest collegiate choirs, experiencing a truly golden period, and music that sits at their very heart, and the result is an album which embodies Evensong’s sublime power.

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DVD/blu-ray

Rossini L’italiana in Algeri

Sols; Philharmonia Chorus, Vienna; Ensemble Matheus / Jean‑Christophe Spinosi 

(Unitel/C Major)

‘A production of this opera that’s as good as any of us is ever likely to see’, writes RO.  

Read the Gramophone review

 

Reissue/archive

The Great Comeback

Vladimir Horowitz pf 

(Sony Classical)

While a pricier purchase than usual in this slot, it’s also something very special: in a digital age, this beautifully researched and presented release shows just what a physical product can do. 

Read the Gramophone review in the Awards 2019 issue

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