Recordings of the Year 2021: Special Digital Edition

James Jolly
Thursday, December 16, 2021

Featuring all of this year’s Editor’s Choice albums and Recordings of the Month, plus the winners of the recording categories of the Gramophone Classical Music Awards, this is the ultimate guide to the best classical recordings of 2021

Another year draws to a close, another year during which, I suspect, recorded and broadcast music took on a value we probably never imagined. As I write this in early December, restrictions are returning to performing venues in Continental Europe and we can only wonder what lies in store. But music will always be with us, in one form or another. And so we present what has become a regular part of our annual production schedule, a special digital magazine gathering together the ‘best of the best’ from our year’s listening and reviewing.

In our new special digital edition, Recordings of the Year 2021, you’ll find the 130 recordings that were selected as Editor’s Choices in the 13 issues of Gramophone we produce every year (the Awards, held each autumn, provide the impetus for the ‘extra’ issue over and above the 12 monthly magazines). There has been some outstanding music-making captured on record this year and the 13 Recordings of the Month would make for quite a playlist were you to play them end to end. Many featured in the Gramophone Classical Music Awards, and that annual celebrations also adds to the celebratory mood of this magazine – we’ve reprised all the appreciative commentary we published around our winners to remind you of the riches, and variety. And if you want to watch the ceremony again, it remains free to view until January 4, 2022 via our website and on our YouTube channel. It was a pleasure to be joined by the delightful Isata Kanneh-Mason at the Voces8 Centre in the City of London to film the online ceremony and welcome along a few of the winners. The resulting two-hour Awards programme – streamed by Medici TV, and on Gramophone’s Facebook and YouTube channels, was something we were enormously proud of, and our gratitude to our partners, Apple Music and E Gutzwiller et Cie, Banquiers as well as a host of individual sponsors and partners, is immense. And once again it was great to be working with the wonderful Help Musicians who have done so much for so many musicians over the past two years, crowning the valuable work they’ve done since their foundation a century ago.

A glance through the release plans for 2022 reveals another mouthwatering year for recorded music, but until then, do enjoy our recommendations, and if you click on the sleeves you will be whisked off to Apple Music where you can listen in lossless audio (and increasingly in spatial audio). 

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