The Best Classical Albums of 2021

Friday, December 31, 2021

Featuring Hilary Hahn, Leif Ove Andsnes, Nathalie Stutzmann, Stephen Hough and many more – all of these outstanding classical albums were selected as Editor's Choice by Gramophone in 2021

As you will see below, 2021 was an exceptional year for classical music on record. Gramophone subscribers can follow the links below each album to read the original review in Gramophone's Reviews Database (find out more).

Bach & Handel

Sabine Devieilhe sop Pygmalion / Raphaël Pichon 

Erato 

Absolutely exquisite and radiant singing from soprano Sabine Devieilhe in a beautiful recital of Bach and Handel; Pygmalion and Raphaël Pichon prove to be perfect partners throughout.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Bartók Concerto for Orchestra. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta 

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Susanna Mälkki 

BIS 

An incredibly atmospheric survey of Bartók orchestral music, rich in detail and drama.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Gubaidulina Orchestral Works 

Vadim Repin vn Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra / Andris Nelsons 

DG 

Gubaidulina’s violin concerto is given a superb performance by Vadim Repin, while the other works reveal the composer’s compelling instinct for orchestral colour.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Mahler Symphony No 8 

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski 

LPO 

Mahler’s mighty Eighth Symphony from the LPO’s Royal Festival Hall home under Vladimir Jurowski, an event captured for posterity on this very impressive recording.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Americascapes’ 

Basque National Orchestra / Robert Trevino 

Ondine 

A fascinating and gloriously played programme of little-known American orchestral works, assembled and conducted with real care and passion by Robert Trevino. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Mendelssohn String Quartets, Vol 2 

Doric Quartet 

Chandos 

The second half of the Doric’s excellent Mendelssohn quartet cycle conveys throughout a powerful sense of reflection on the music, resulting in highly engaged and engaging performances. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘’Round Midnight’ 

Ébène Quartet 

Erato 

The sound world of these works is so integral to their success, and the Ébène Quartet embody it all brilliantly, giving this programme of nocturnal-themed music spanning a century a gripping sense of coherence.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Chopin Piano Works 

Bruce Liu pf 

DG 

Followers of the recent Chopin Piano Competition – among which, given the huge viewing figures, you are highly likely to be one – can now celebrate the success of Bruce Liu with this wonderful album of performances captured live in Warsaw.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Josquin. Brumel ‘In memoria mea’ 

Cantus Modalis; Seconda Pratica / Rebecca Stewart 

Carpe Diem 

Rebecca Stewart ‘works her magic’, as our critic puts it, on a programme of early music that feels genuinely fresh and surprising in style. A beautiful album.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Séguedilles’ 

Marianne Crebassa mez Toulouse Capitole Orchestra / Ben Glassberg 

Erato 

An exploration – no, a celebration! – of French and Spanish musical links: Marianne Crebassa sings with joyful character, supported by stylish conducting from Ben Glassberg.  

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Price Symphonies Nos 1 & 3

Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin 

DG 

The music of Florence Price, neglected for a century, couldn’t have asked for more splendid champions – detail, beauty and thematic sweep run throughout this triumphant DG release.

Read the Gramophone review


Bartók. Beethoven. Berg Violin Concertos

Frank Peter Zimmermann vn Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 

Berliner Philharmoniker 

A riveting offering of four major concertos from one of today’s very finest violinists, with superb orchestral playing too.

Read the Gramophone review


Bruckner Symphony No 4, ‘Romantic’ 

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Christian Thielemann 

Sony Classical 

One is immediately aware of Christian Thielemann’s deep understanding of this score, one built on 40 years of experience – a magisterial recording. 

Read the Gramophone review


‘Muse’ 

Sheku Kanneh-Mason vc Isata Kanneh-Mason pf 

Decca 

A personal programme by siblings whose intensely musical rapport has obviously been honed down the years, with deeply engaging results. 

Read the Gramophone review


Dvořák String Quintet No 3, ‘American’ Kurtág String Quartets 

Parker Quartet with Kim Kashkashian va 

ECM New Series 

Whether in Kurtág’s intimate and exploratory music, or Dvořák’s expressive Quintet, this is striking chamber playing.   

Read the Gramophone review


Stravinsky The Soldier’s Tale 

Isabelle Faust vn Alexander Melnikov pf 

Harmonia Mundi 

The authentic spirit of Stravinsky’s theatrical work – or certainly a spirit that feels perfectly apt to this listener – pervades this brilliant performance, music and narration alike.

Read the Gramophone review


Liszt Années de pèlerinage – année 1: Suisse 

Charles Owen pf 

Avie 

From dramatic grandeur to elegant reflection, pianist Charles Owen offers us a Liszt recital rich in colours and personality, and one beautifully recorded too. 

Read the Gramophone review


‘Nostalgia’ 

Magdalena Kožená mez Yefim Bronfman pf 

Pentatone 

Mezzo Magdalena Kožená – astutely partnered by Yefim Bronfman – is in her element here, in a programme of songs that seem almost perfectly written for both her voice and her interpretative soul.

Read the Gramophone review


Pärt Passio 

Sols; Helsinki Chamber Choir / Nils Schweckendiek 

BIS 

A deeply moving performance of Pärt’s Passio, one both meditatively spiritual and yet achingly human too, the singers and acoustic lending the recording an almost visual dimension. 

Read the Gramophone review


‘Josquin’s Legacy’ 

The Gesualdo Six 

Hyperion 

An inventive programme exploring Josquin and his influence on his contemporaries – but most importantly, one exquisitely performed by this ever-impressive vocal ensemble. 

Read the Gramophone review


‘BariTenor’

Michael Spyres baritenor Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra / Marko Letonja

Erato 

A stunning album from Michael Spyres, a richly and impressively varied programme showcasing not just a voice of exceptional range but of colour and vivid characterisation too. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


R Strauss Eine Alpensinfonie 

Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski 

Pentatone 

Another beautifully crafted Alpine Symphony from Vladimir Jurowski, this time not with the LPO but the highly responsive Berlin Radio Symphony.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Mozart String Quartets Nos 15, 17 & 18

Casals Quartet 

Harmonia Mundi 

There’s something so immediate about the superb Casals Quartet’s playing in these three Mozart works, an engaging edge-of-seat urgency which makes for a compelling listening experience. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘12 Stradivari’ 

Janine Jansen vn Antonio Pappano pf 

Decca 

In the poetic playing of Janine Jansen – and her star soloist Antonio Pappano – this already fascinating project to record 12 of the finest Stradivarius violins becomes a superb musical one too.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Ciaccona’ 

Ilya Gringolts vn 

BIS 

It takes both superb instinct and skill to gather such varied works, to draw out and convey the thematic links, and to shape it all into an entirely absorbing recital: Ilya Gringolts manages all this brilliantly. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Grime. Ives. Mahler ‘Songs for New Life and Love’ 

Ruby Hughes sop Joseph Middleton pf 

BIS 

This is a deeply moving recital exploring parenthood – with an incredibly poignant new cycle by Helen Grime at its core – from Ruby Hughes and Joseph Middleton. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Regnart Missa Christ ist erstanden 

Cinquecento 

Hyperion 

Cinquecento’s return to the music of 16th-century composer Jacob Regnart finds the ensemble – regular visitors to the Editor’s Choice page – on impeccable form. Another triumphant album. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Anima æterna’ 

Jakub Józef Orliński counterten Il Pomo d’Oro / Francesco Corti

Erato 

We were excited enough about countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński’s new album to put him on last month’s cover, and it doesn’t disappoint: a truly striking release.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Fux Dafne in lauro 

Sols; Zefiro / Alfredo Bernardini 

Arcana 

A recording – of Fux’s Dafne in lauro – which beautifully captures all the spirit of the live performances it was taken from, led by the sure rhythmic command and dramatic vision of Alfredo Bernardini.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Amazone’ 

Lea Desandre mez Jupiter / Thomas Dunford

Erato 

Erato’s excellent recent signing, the mezzo Lea Desandre – along with some stupendous colleagues (not least brilliant lutenist Thomas Dunford) – serves up a superb album of Baroque arias.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Shostakovich. Stevenson ‘On DSCH’

Igor Levit pf

Sony Classical

Multiple Gramophone Award-winner and last month’s cover artist brings his intelligence, virtuosity and beauty of tone to bear on yet more extraordinary repertoire. Another superb recording from Igor Levit.   

Read the review


Farrenc Symphonies Nos 1 & 3

Insula Orchestra / Laurence Equilbey

Erato

A compelling piece of advocacy for 19th-century French composer Louise Farrenc, these two beautifully crafted symphonies are performed with passion and care.

Read the review


Ye Winter

Royal Scottish National Orchestra / José Serebrier, Gilbert Varga

BIS

Chinese composer Xiaogang Ye’s music is revealed in these superb performances to possess lyrical elegance, searching drama and depth of colour – well worth exploring.

Read the review


‘Mozart & Flute in Paris’

Emmanuel Pahud fl Paris Chamber Orchestra / François Leleux

Warner Classics

A tribute to Paris as ‘flute capital of the world’ – and who better than Emmanuel Pahud to lead such a celebration?

Read the review


Brahms ‘Sonatas & Liebeslieder’

Emmanuelle Bertrand vc Pascal Amoyel pf

Harmonia Mundi

A delightful programme, sonatas and songs alike played by cellist Emmanuelle Bertrand and pianist Pascal Amoyel with an immediately engaging and superbly conveyed rapport.

Read the review


‘Mozart & Contemporaries’

Víkingur Ólafsson pf

DG

Víkingur Ólafsson’s instinct for what will make a fascinating and unexpected programme is matched, as always, by the most sublime pianistic touch; another exquisitely recorded release.

Read the review


‘… Le temps perdu …’

Imogen Cooper pf

Chandos

A highly personal album from Imogen Cooper, of works the pianist played as a student or young artist, but not since, exploring the impact of memory and the passing of time on music.

Read the review


Schnittke Choir Concerto

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir / Kaspars Putniņš

BIS

The profound spiritual depth of these settings by Pärt and Schnittke, caught here in superb performances from Estonia, is deeply moving. 

Read the review


Zacara da Teramo ‘Enigma Fortuna’

La Fonte Musica / Michele Pasotti lutes

Alpha

A highly significant release for anyone interested in the history of early music, but even in purely performance terms this survey of Zacara da Teramo is a must-hear.

Read the review


Schumann ‘Alle Lieder’

Christian Gerhaher bar Gerold Huber pf

Sony Classical

This was always going to be important; the 11-disc project to record all Schumann’s songs from one of today’s finest singers Christian Gerhaher is every bit the fine achievement we hoped.


‘Journey Through a Century’

Sueye Park vn

BIS

An extraordinary album of solo repertoire, Sueye Park transcending the technical demands with performances of vivid character, drama, emotion and engagement – captured in superb sound too.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Haydn Symphonies Nos 6-8

Il Giardino Armonico / Giovanni Antonini

Alpha

‘A spirit of shared enjoyment’ writes reviewer Richard Wigmore – a description that embodies this team’s many superb Haydn recordings, to which this is a triumphant addition.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘History of the Russian Piano Trio, Vol 4’

The Brahms Trio

Naxos

The Brahms Trio present works by Arensky and Taneyev with elegance and brilliant musicianship – an excellent starting point for exploring all five volumes of this outstanding series.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Mozart ‘Prussian’ String Quartets

Doric Quartet

Chandos

The Doric Quartet continue to enrich the catalogue with another recording full of exactly what makes chamber music so rewarding: exploration, conversation, joyful collaboration and superb artistry.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘La clarinette parisienne’

Michael Collins cl Noriko Ogawa pf

BIS

Master of the clarinet Michael Collins’s beauty of tone and impeccable shaping of phrase seems an absolutely perfect fit for these early (or turn-of-the-) 20th-century French works.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Mozart Piano Duet Sonatas K497 & 251

Ferenc Rados, Kirill Gerstein pf

Myrios

This is truly joyful. A revered teacher and one of his most free-thinking students joined in duets that, as Michelle Assay puts it, ‘reminds you why you fell in love with music in the first place’.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘Camino’

Sean Shibe gtr

Pentatone

Each of these mainly Spanish works feels like a beautifully crafted and intimate painting – delicate, reflective, exquisite, mysterious – quietly gifted to listeners by a guitarist whose instinct for colour compels and transfixes.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘Echoes of an Old Hall’

Music from the Old Hall Manuscript

Gothic Voices

Linn

Music from the Old Hall manuscript, a hugely important collection of English medieval music, performed with atmospheric beauty by Gothic Voices.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘Phidylé’

Kateřina Kněžíková sop Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, Ostrava / Robert Jindra

Supraphon

Soprano Kateřina Kněžíková’s tone – warm, drawn straight from the heart – seems perfect for this repertoire of dreamy, richly coloured orchestral songs.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Corigliano The Ghosts of Versailles

Sols; Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal / Joseph Colaneri

Château de Versailles Spectacles

A new (audio and visual) recording of this opera made, fittingly enough, exactly where the events are set: the Palace of Versailles.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Mahler Symphony No 7

Bavarian State Orchestra / Kirill Petrenko

BSO Recordings

A remarkable recording of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, Kirill Petrenko revealing detail as if new, presenting it with thrilling vividness and weaving it into a performance of stunning impact.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Brahms Symphony No 3. Serenade No 2

Budapest Festival Orchestra / Iván Fischer

Channel Classics

Iván Fischer leads his players in a richly expressive performance of both Brahms’s Third Symphony and Second Serenade, a beautiful orchestral sound wonderfully caught throughout.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Shostakovich Symphonies Nos 1, 14 & 15

Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons

DG

Andris Nelson’s cycle reaches a high point, with performances exploring and relishing Shostakovich’s drama and imagination.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘Magical Memories’

Tine Thing Helseth tpt Kåre Nordstoga org

LAWO

A programme of evergreen favourites – for trumpeter and audiences alike (though with many discoveries too!) – all played with a joyful sense of evident love for the repertoire.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘Roots’

Randall Goosby vn Zhu Wang pf

Decca

An excellent debut from a recent Decca signing – one taught by Itzhak Perlman no less – whose album shines a spotlight on neglected music, some new works, and most of all on a wonderful young violinist.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


JS Bach Six Keyboard Partitas, BWV825‑30

Mahan Esfahani hpd

Hyperion

Mahan Esfahani offers deeply thought-through interpretations presented with compelling conviction – added to that, he’s recorded them on a captivating modern instrument.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Bull. Byrd ‘The Visionaries of Piano Music’

Kit Armstrong pf

DG

Kit Armstrong brings a personal modern vision to this keyboard music of centuries past, gracing it with a sensitivity and affection that feels entirely of our time.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Granados Goyescas

Viviana Lasaracina pf

Dynamic

Enrique Granados’s atmospheric masterpiece Goyescas is offered here by Viviana Lasaracina in an entrancing album; she embraces the work’s colours and passion, and brilliantly brings it all to life. 

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘Summertime’

Isata Kanneh-Mason pf

Decca

Isata Kanneh-Mason follows her debut of Clara Schumann’s music by offering her advocacy to another well-chosen programme, this time of American composers, all played with great warmth. 

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Mouton ‘Ezekiel’s Eagle’

Cappella Pratensis / Stratton Bull

Challenge Classics

Cappella Pratensis prove themselves to be an ensemble of exquisite skill, voices steeped in both artistry and personality, Jean Mouton’s music shaped and sung superbly.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Brahms Piano Concertos

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / András Schiff pf

ECM New Series

These beautiful period-instrument performances, directed by András Schiff from a restored 1859 Blüthner, bring a compelling freshness to Brahms’s much-loved piano concertos.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


JS Bach Orchestral Suites

Concerto Copenhagen / Lars Ulrik Mortensen

CPO

Prepare to dance, reviewer Mark Seow suggests of Concerto Copenhagen and Lars Ulrik Mortensen’s album of Bach suites – a brilliant example of this wonderful group at its best.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Schreker Der Geburtstag der Infantin Zemlinsky Die Seejungfrau

RLPO / Vasily Petrenko

Onyx

Vasily Petrenko and his superb Merseyside musicians reveal their rich rapport once again in two orchestral works of lush late Romanticism.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Barber. Beach. Price ‘American Quintets’

Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

Chandos

A splendid debut from the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective of a fascinating programme, including the premiere recording of Florence Price’s Quintet.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Mozart Serenades Nos 10 & 11

Sols of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Harmonia Mundi

Another new recording of the Gran Partita, and like all the best takes on this masterpiece it absolutely delights; period-performance Mozart at its most engaging.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Duruflé Complete Organ Works

Thomas Trotter org

King’s College

A riveting journey through Duruflé’s complete organ music from the ever-brilliant Thomas Trotter, who draws the most beautiful colours from the recently restored King’s College, Cambridge organ.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Vladigerov Piano Works

Nadejda Vlaeva pf

Hyperion

The richly Romantic sound-world of 20th-century Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov is brought to entrancing life by Nadejda Vlaeva on this splendid new addition to Hyperion’s catalogue.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘Melancholy Grace’

Jean Rondeau hpd

Erato

This is an entrancing offering from harpsichordist Jean Rondeau, one of at times almost otherworldly intensity as he takes us on a Europe-wide exploration of music of the most reflective nature. 

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


‘Tiranno’

Kate Lindsey mez Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen

Alpha

Power, its corruption and corrosiveness, is the subject of this exquisite album from mezzo Kate Lindsey, joined by the brilliantly attentive artistry of Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Handel Rodelinda

Sols; The English Concert / Harry Bicket

Linn

A superb soloist line-up and perfect shaping of the drama by the conductor Harry Bicket makes for a new top recommendation of Handel’s Rodelinda for reviewer Richard Wigmore.

Read the review in Gramophone’s Reviews Database


Mozart ‘Momentum 1785’

Mahler Chamber Orchestra / Leif Ove Andsnes pf

Sony Classical

This is a beautifully performed and recorded album of Mozart music from Leif Ove Andsnes and his Mahler CO colleagues, one clearly created amid a spirit of warm collaboration.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


R Strauss Burleske. Ein Heldenleben

Bertrand Chamayou pf Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia / Antonio Pappano

Warner Classics

A glorious showcase of Pappano’s partnership with his Rome ensemble, and with Chamayou thrilling in the Burleske.   

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘The Moon & the Forest’

Miloš Karadaglić gtr

Decca

Miloš introduces us to two engaging new concertos for guitar by Howard Shore and Joby Talbot, both written and performed with a clear affection for the instrument’s sonority and soul.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Hindemith Wind Sonatas

Les Vents Français; Éric Le Sage pf

Warner Classics

Five superb woodwind soloists, paired with a perfect pianist partner in Éric Le Sage (and all captured in vivid sound), makes for a truly compelling album of Hindemith.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Franck Organ Works

Pétur Sakari org

BIS

Pétur Sakari’s album of Franck organ music on the fabulous sounding Cavaillé-Coll instrument of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Orléans (excellently recorded by BIS), is a wonderful sonic spectacular.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Ysaÿe Six Solo Violin Sonatas

James Ehnes vn

Onyx

A recording that owes much to our times, emotionally and practically – it was home-recorded during lockdown – this is a very fine survey of Ysaÿe’s solo violin sonatas from James Ehnes.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


JS Bach ‘Meins Lebens licht’

Collegium Vocale Gent / Philippe Herreweghe

PHI

An exquisite addition, rich in texture and colour, to the impressive Bach catalogue being created by Philippe Herreweghe and his superb Collegium Vocale Gent.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Chère nuit’

Louise Alder sop Joseph Middleton pf

Chandos

Evocative and splendid singing from Louise Alder, a soprano who embodies all the atmosphere and mystery of this gorgeous programme, just as does pianist Joseph Middleton in his playing. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Magnificat 2’

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

Signum

The contribution of Andrew Nethsingha and St John’s College, Cambridge to the Evensong tradition – both in the chapel and on record – deserves great praise; another fascinating album.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Bartók Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

Sols; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Susanna Mälkki

BIS

Exceptional soloists and a conductor who shapes the score brilliantly create a fine recording of Bartók’s dark opera, warmly welcomed by Edward Seckerson.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Proust, Le concert retrouvé’

Théotime Langlois de Swarte vn Tanguy de Williencourt pf

Harmonia Mundi

A truly delightful and lovingly performed recital, recreating a 1907 private concert held by Proust, and using two instruments of glorious character and colour held in Paris’s Musée de la Musique.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Carter The Minotaur. Pocahontas

Boston Modern Orchestra Project / Gil Rose

BMOP/sound

Another significant contribution to our understanding of modern and American music from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project under their conductor Gil Rose.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


JS Bach ‘The Well-Tempered Consort, Vol 2’

Phantasm

Linn

This is an album of completely compelling collaboration from the Gramophone Award-winning viol consort, a richly rewarding immersion into the complexity and beauty of Bach’s world. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Nordic Rhapsody’

Johan Dalene vn Christian Ihle Hadland pf

BIS

Violinist Johan Dalene – winner of the prestigious Carl Nielsen Competition in 2019 – and pianist Christian Ihle Hadland mesmerise in Nordic music old and new.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Stanchinsky Piano Works

Peter Jablonski pf

Ondine

Early 20th-century composer Alexey Stanchinsky’s music will be a discovery for many if not most, and it can ask for no better advocacy than that of Peter Jablonski in this wonderful recording.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Berg. R Strauss. Zemlinsky ‘Clair-obscur’

Sandrine Piau sop Orchestre ‘Victor Hugo’ Franche‑Comté / Jean‑François Verdier

Alpha

Soprano Sandrine Piau offers a beautifully crafted and movingly sung recital.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Monteverdi ‘Il delirio della passione’

Anna Lucia Richter sop Ensemble Claudiana / Luca Pianca

Pentatone

Anna Lucia Richter embodies all the drama and tragedy of these Monteverdi heroines with gripping immediacy, backed by equally expressive instrumental colleagues.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Pergolesi Stabat mater

Giulia Semenzato sop Lucile Richardot mez Ensemble Resonanz / Riccardo Minasi

Harmonia Mundi

There’s an incredible intensity and individuality to these performances – a Pergolesi Stabat mater of real poignancy.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘The Sweetest Songs’ Music from the Baldwin Partbooks, Vol 3

Contrapunctus / Owen Rees

Signum

An exquisite album of early music from Contrapunctus, concluding a superb survey of works from the Baldwin Partbooks, a major collection of Tudor church music.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Verdi Arias

Ludovic Tézier bar Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna / Frédéric Chaslin

Sony Classical

Ludovic Tézier’s baritone voice and interpretative flair makes this a vivid journey through some of the key Verdi roles he’s thrilled opera houses with.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘French Duets’

Steven Osborne, Paul Lewis pf

Hyperion

Two of today’s most compelling soloists unite for this beautiful recital – from radiancy in Ravel to playfulness in Poulenc, via some sublime Debussy, this album is sheer joy from beginning to end.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Beethoven Triple Concerto. Symphony No 2

Isabelle Faust vn Jean‑Guihen Queyras vc Alexander Melnikov pf Freiburg Baroque Orchestra / Pablo Heras‑Casado

Harmonia Mundi

Collaborative music at its most brilliant.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Elgar Violin Concerto. Violin Sonata

Renaud Capuçon vn Stephen Hough pf London Symphony Orchestra / Simon Rattle

Erato

Refined and emotive Elgar from a violinist who deeply understands this music’s heart.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Mahler Symphony No 4

Anna Lucia Richter sop Bamberg Symphony Orchestra / Jakub Hrůša

Accentus

Moving and beautifully crafted Mahler, the symphony’s sweep superbly presented by an ever-impressive conductor and players deeply immersed in its idiom.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Occurrence’

Iceland Symphony Orchestra / Daníel Bjarnason

Sono Luminus

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s three-disc survey of new music linked to its homeland concludes, exploring landscape and soundscape with extraordinary imagination.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Ligeti Études

Danny Driver pf

Hyperion

Danny Driver’s fascinating reflections in the last issue on Ligeti’s Études perfectly paved the way for hearing the recording, and it’s one that brilliantly grasps and then conveys all the music’s inventiveness and virtuosity.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘(Re)Creations’

Zlata Chochieva pf

Accentus

Zlata Chochieva follows her recent splendid albums of Chopin and Rachmaninov with something as intriguing as it is compelling: transcriptions that reveal both the form and a formidable pianist at their very best. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Gesualdo Madrigals, Books 3 & 4

Les Arts Florissants / Paul Agnew

Harmonia Mundi

Les Arts Florissants follow the Award-winning initial instalment in their series of Gesualdo madrigals with a new volume that proves equally as intense in its intimacy and artistry.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Eccles Semele

Sols; Academy of Ancient Music / Julian Perkins

AAM Records

Remarkably, John Eccles’s final opera lay unperformed until 1964, and only now gets its second recording – but what entrancing and engaging advocacy it here receives.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Lise Davidsen Arias and Songs

Lise Davidsen sop London Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Mark Elder

Decca

Few young artists have generated such a buzz as our cover artist, and her hugely impressive new album reveals exactly why. 

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‘Paris’

Hilary Hahn vn Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra / Mikko Franck

DG

From the late lyricism of Rautavaara to the urgent intensity of Prokofiev, Hilary Hahn’s captivating tribute to the city of Paris is imaginatively programmed and brilliantly performed.

Read the review in the Gramophone Reviews Database


Locatelli ‘Il labirinto armonico’

Finnish Baroque Orchestra / Ilya Gringolts vn

BIS

From the opening track onwards, elegant playing launches a programme rich in charm from Ilya Gringolts and the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, all on sparkling form.

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D Matthews A Vision of the Sea

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / Jac van Steen

Signum

David Matthews’s sound world draws you in with expressive orchestral writing, whether evoking the sun or sea, or in his beautifully crafted Eighth Symphony.

Read the review in the Gramophone Reviews Database


Holmboe String Quartets, Vol 1

Nightingale Quartet

Dacapo

The Nightingale Quartet’s survey of Danish composer Vagn Holmboe’s string quartets couldn’t have a more auspicious start: performed with a gripping sense of drama and caught in richly vivid sound.

Read the review in the Gramophone Reviews Database


Liszt Piano Works

Benjamin Grosvenor pf

Decca

The superb pianist Benjamin Grosvenor continues to compile a richly varied discography, the repertoire always carefully chosen and the playing always deeply engaging, with an impressive recital of Liszt.

Read the review in the Gramophone Reviews Database


‘Piazzolla Reflections’

Ksenija Sidorova accordion

Alpha

What better way to mark the centenary of Piazzolla’s birth than this programme from accordionist Ksenija Sidorova steeped in the soul and spirit of the tango master’s music?

Read the review in the Gramophone Reviews Database


Purcell Royal Odes

The King’s Consort / Robert King

Vivat

An excellent album of Purcell Odes and Welcome Songs from The King’s Consort, Robert King’s impressive selection of singers and instrumentalists alike all on brilliant form throughout.

Read the review in the Gramophone Reviews Database


‘And Love Said …’

Jodie Devos sop Nicolas Krüger pf

Alpha

Following her thrilling Offenbach album two years ago, Jodie Devos reveals herself just as compelling and communicative in this personal programme of English-language song.

Read the review in the Gramophone Reviews Database


Salieri Armida

Sols; Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset

Aparté

Another beautifully performed and prepared recording from conductor Christophe Rousset, the singing and playing – from Les Talens Lyriques – exquisite throughout.

Read the review in the Gramophone Reviews Database


‘Contralto’

Orfeo 55 / Nathalie Stutzmann contr

Erato

Nathalie Stutzmann invites us to rethink the repertoire of contraltos written at a time when castratos and sopranos were their era’s stars: the case couldn’t be better made than here.

Read the review in the Gramophone Reviews Database


Rachmaninov Symphony No 1. Symphonic Dances

The Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin

DG

Last issue, we explored the legacy of Rachmaninov and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin proves himself not just a brilliant custodian, but a conductor creating an era of his own.

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‘English Music for Strings’

Sinfonia of London / John Wilson

Chandos

Once again John Wilson draws the most glorious sound from his hand-picked orchestra, lavishing care and devotion on repertoire that could have been written for him.

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JS Bach Das wohltemperirte Clavier, Book 2 – selections

Piotr Anderszewski pf

Warner Classics

Thoughtful and thought-provoking programming by Piotr Anderszewski is paired with sensitive interpretation throughout, making for a compelling Bach album.

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‘Vida breve’

Stephen Hough pf

Hyperion

Stephen Hough follows his Beethoven concerto album with a more intimate, personal meditation on life and death, a journey bookended with Bach-based reflections, and all performed with his usual intelligence and flair.

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‘Tyrannic Love’

Ensemble Les Surprises / Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas

Alpha

A vibrant step into 18th-century English music from Ensemble Les Surprises sees the French group shine in works both familiar and lesser known from Purcell and peers.

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