The Best Classical Music Albums of 2022 (So Far)

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Our guide to the most outstanding new classical music albums of 2022 - so far! Featuring sensational new versions of Bach's St Matthew Passion, Beethoven's symphonies, Vivaldi's violin concertos and much more

This is our guide to the best classical music albums reviewed in Gramophone magazine in 2022. The list will continue to grow as the year progresses, giving you a frequently-updated guide to the most life-enhancing classical music albums available today.

Each album is linked to the original Gramophone review in Gramophone's Reviews Database. The best way to explore new classical recordings is to subscribe to Gramophone magazine. Find out more at: magsubscriptions.com

● The 50 best Johann Sebastian Bach recordings

● The 50 best Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart recordings

● The 50 best Ludwig van Beethoven albums

Handel La Resurrezione 

Sols; The English Concert / Harry Bicket 

Linn 

Handel’s operatic Easter oratorio gets a beautifully elegant reading from Harry Bicket, who leads an excellent English Concert and a superb all-British set of soloists in this truly wonderful recording. 

Read the Gramophone review

Read more: Handel's message for the modern world


Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 3 

Kristian Bezuidenhout fp Freiburg Baroque Orchestra / Pablo Heras-Casado 

Harmonia Mundi 

Kristian Bezuidenhout completes his super set of the Beethoven concertos with this joyously spirited pairing of Nos 1 and 3.

Read the Gramophone review


Saint-Saëns Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 

Alexandre Kantorow pf Tapiola Sinfonietta / Jean-Jacques Kantorow 

BIS 

Another concerto set completion, and one that reveals exactly why Alexandre Kantorow graces this issue’s cover. 

Read the Gramophone review

Read more: Inside Brahms’s Piano Sonata No 2 with Alexandre Kantorow


Weill Symphony No 2. Shostakovich Symphony No 5 

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra / Lahav Shani 

Warner Classics 

A fabulous opportunity to hear Kurt Weill’s Second Symphony from young conductor Lahav Shani, partnered with a dramatic reading of Shostakovich Symphony No 5.

Read the Gramophone review

Read more: Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony – a deep dive into the best recordings


Schnittke. Shostakovich. Silvestrov ‘Outcast’ 

Matangi Quartet 

Matangi 

‘A genuinely remarkable disc,’ writes Ivan Moody of the Matangi Quartet’s recording, their playing revealing a powerful and vivid sense of focus in a well-chosen programme. 

Read the Gramophone review


Beethoven. Brahms. Mozart ‘Variations’ 

Simon Trpčeski pf 

Linn 

Three masters of variation form – Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart – are explored, and very clearly enjoyed, by pianist Simon Trpčeski on this delightful album.

Read the Gramophone review


Rachmaninov Piano Sonata No 1. Moments musicaux 

Steven Osborne pf 

Hyperion 

Where today would one turn ‘for more idiomatic, more intelligent, or more beautiful Rachmaninov-playing’ asks Patrick Rucker after hearing Steven Osborne’s new release? 

Read the Gramophone review

Read more: Top 10 Sergei Rachmaninov recordings


‘An Old Belief’ 

The Sixteen / Harry Christophers 

Coro 

A hugely varied programme musically and powerfully united thematically, this album shows the impeccable approach to interpretation Harry Christophers and The Sixteen bring to everything they perform. 

Read the Gramophone review

Read more: The Sixteen at 40 – ‘the basic principle of just loving what we were doing has never left us; it’s been the whole nature of the group’


‘A Room of Mirrors’ 

Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, Zachary Wilder tens Ensemble I Gemelli 

Gemelli Factory 

From the opening number, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, fellow tenor Zachary Wilder, and Ensemble I Gemelli have us gripped with irresistible music-making.

Read the Gramophone review


‘Rivales’ 

Véronique Gens, Sandrine Piau sops Le Concert de la Loge / Julien Chauvin 

Alpha 

Two of today’s finest sopranos, Véronique Gens and Sandrine Piau, reveal their complete mastery of bringing this sort of repertoire to compelling theatrical life. 

Read the Gramophone review


Beethoven ‘Diabelli’ Variations 

Mitsuko Uchida pf 

Decca 

This revelatory recording of the Diabelli Variations – Mitsuko Uchida’s first solo album for almost a decade – stands out as a dazzling addition to this work’s rich interpretative history. A superb release. 

Read the review


‘Mozart Momentum 1786’ 

Mahler Chamber Orchestra / Leif Ove Andsnes pf

Sony Classical 

Volume two of ‘Mozart Momentum’ is every bit as brilliant as the first; focusing on works from 1786, it’s as rich in collaborative spirit as in pianistic refinement.

Read the review


JS Bach ‘The Complete Works for Keyboard, Vol 6’

Benjamin Alard clav/hpd 

Harmonia Mundi 

Book one of The Well-Tempered Clavier is brought to us by Benjamin Alard on a remarkable sounding (and looking) harpsichord. A superb performance. 

Read the review


JS Bach Goldberg Variations

Klára Würtz pf 

Piano Classics 

Klára Würtz’s Goldbergs explores Bach’s extraordinary and revered set of variations with selfless commitment and personality, bringing delicacy, drama and architectural splendour to this great music.

Read the review


Handel ‘Winged Hands’

Francesco Corti hpd 

Arcana 

Our second harpsichord album of the month, and this time it’s Handel, and Francesco Corti, a player who can draw glorious interpretative colour from both his instrument and his chosen repertoire. 

Read the review


Schubert Piano Sonatas Nos 13 & 18 

Stephen Hough pf 

Hyperion 

Really lovely playing from Stephen Hough, who offers us the most beautifully shaped sound, and a vision of Schubert’s music that feels as exploratory as it does rich in understanding of those wonderful works. 

Read the review


R Clarke ‘Sempiternam’

State Choir Latvija / Māris Sirmais 

Métier 

This, the second release by the Métier label devoted to the music of Rhona Clarke, perfectly pairs the composer’s choral music with the superb State Choir Latvija’s richly resonant sound.

Read the review


Jóhannsson Drone Mass 

Theatre of Voices; American Contemporary Music Ensemble / Paul Hillier 

DG 

The compelling sound world of the late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is powerfully captured in this epic work.  

Read the review

Listen to Paul Hillier discuss Drone Mass on the Gramophone Podcast:


Nesbit Sacred Choral Music

The Choir of King’s College London / Joseph Fort 

Delphian 

Edward Nesbit’s music entrances with a distinctive voice that pairs a mysterious melodic beauty, superbly sung by Ruby Hughes, with a beautifully crafted texture.

Read the review


Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge and Other Songs 

Nicky Spence ten Julius Drake pf Timothy Ridout va Piatti Quartet

Hyperion 

Nicky Spence and colleagues deliver this set of Vaughan Williams songs with the passion and conviction of true storytellers.

Read the review


JS Bach St Matthew Passion 

Sols; Pygmalion / Raphaël Pichon

Harmonia Mundi 

This recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion has extraordinary impact – rich in remarkable singing which conveys an intense humanity, and a superb sense of pace and drama, all beautifully recorded. 

Read the review


Abrahamsen Schnee 

Lapland Chamber Orchestra / John Storgårds 

Dacapo 

The sound world of Abrahamsen’s Schnee – ‘snow’ – is beguiling in its balance of mysterious fragility and strength, and masterfully performed and recorded here. 

Read the review


Gershwin. Rachmaninov Rhapsodies 

Martin James Bartlett pf London Philharmonic Orchestra / Joshua Weilerstein 

Warner Classics 

Martin James Bartlett makes a superb statement with playing of joy and virtuosity.

Read the review

Listen to Martin James Bartlett discuss 'Rhapsody' on the Gramophone Podcast:


Nielsen. Sibelius Violin Concertos 

Johan Dalene vn Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgårds 

BIS 

The violinist Johan Dalene further impresses with performances of two great concertos that sit among the very finest. 

Read the review


Vivaldi L’estro armonico JS Bach Concertos after L’estro armonico 

Concerto Italiano / Rinaldo Alessandrini 

Naïve 

‘I can’t remember when I last enjoyed a Vivaldi album as much as this,’ writes Charlotte Gardner: discover it for yourself! 

Read the review


Sibelius Complete Symphonies 

Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Klaus Mäkelä 

Decca 

This is an extraordinary debut from a remarkable young conductor; Klaus Mäkelä offering us an absolutely compelling journey through Sibelius’s symphonies. 

Read the review

Klaus Mäkelä interview – ‘You don’t have to play for the hall; you just have to seduce the microphones’: Still in his twenties, the Oslo Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor Klaus Mäkelä is remarkably clear-sighted about what he wants to achieve and how – even after lockdown required a different approach to recording his debut album of the Sibelius symphonies, writes Andrew Mellor.


Mendelssohn String Quintets 

Doric Quartet with Timothy Ridout va 

Chandos 

The Doric Quartet regularly impress, their collegiate sense of shared vision evident in drama and delicacy alike; this Chandos set of Mendelssohn quintets is as fine as we’d hope and expect.

Read the review


Bruhns ‘Cantatas & Organ Works, Vol 1’ 

Yale Institute of Sacred Music / Masaaki Suzuki 

BIS 

Masaaki Suzuki – always a brilliant guide for us in the major musical figures – here introduces us to the lesser-known Nicolaus Bruhns, and it’s an invitation well worth accepting.

Read the review


Rachmaninov ‘Dissonance’ 

Asmik Grigorian sop Lukas Geniušas pf 

Alpha 

From the opening bars of each song, Asmik Grigorian brings passion, personality and drama to these Rachmaninov gems, matched at every step by Lukas Geniušas’s superb pianism. 

Read the review


Handel ‘Dualità’ 

Emőke Baráth sop Artaserse / Philippe Jaroussky 

Erato 

A fabulous soprano of our own age pays tribute to two stars of Handel’s day, and in so doing offers a wonderful programme of arias, spell-binding in its theatricality and virtuosity. 

Read the review


Leclair. Locatelli. Vivaldi Violin Concertos 

Théotime Langlois de Swarte vn Les Ombres 

Harmonia Mundi 

A name already familiar in this space from a re-creation of a Proust recital (read the review), Théotime Langlois de Swarte’s glorious new album is Baroque music-making at its most beautiful and joyful.

Read the review


Dohnányi Concertos 

Sols; Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz / Modestas Pitrėnas 

Capriccio 

A superbly performed selection of Dohnányi works from players entirely immersed in his musical voice, led by a conductor who inspires them all the way. 

Read the review


Ravel Orchestral Works 

Sinfonia of London / John Wilson 

Chandos 

John Wilson brings his extraordinary ability to find the colour and soul in an orchestral score to bear on Ravel: together with his hand-picked soloists he offers us ravishing riches indeed.

Read the review


Moeran Chamber Works 

Fidelio Trio 

Resonus 

That Moeran’s music means so much to the players of the Fidelio Trio is clear from the very beginning of this delightful album, the lyrical lines delivered with evident affection, as well as musical excellence. 

Read the review


‘Horn & Piano’ 

Teunis van der Zwart hn Alexander Melnikov fp 

Harmonia Mundi 

What a feast of sounds! Teunis van der Zwart’s natural horn and Alexander Melnikov’s fortepiano offer us a captivating and wholly glorious tribute to the 18th-century virtuoso Giovanni Punto.

Read the review


Bacewicz Piano Works 

Peter Jablonski pf 

Ondine 

Following up his superb Stanchinsky album last year, Peter Jablonski turns his attention to Bacewicz, offering equally fine advocacy to a composer whose music is coming to be much more widely recognised.  

Read the review


‘B-A-C-H’ 

Simon Johnson org 

Chandos 

An extraordinary instrument – that of St Paul’s Cathedral, London – in repertoire perfectly chosen to show off its sonic splendour, all performed by an artist of formidable skill and musicality.  

Read the review


JS Bach St John Passion 

Sols; Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists / John Eliot Gardiner 

DG 

‘An immersive Passion which takes no prisoners’, says Jonathan Freeman‑Attwood of this performance, from one of the foremast Bach conductors of our age. 

Read the review


‘Eden’ 

Joyce DiDonato mez Il Pomo d’Oro / Maxim Emelyanychev 

Erato 

An album to focus us on our relationship to nature, delivered with passion by Joyce DiDonato and her colleagues – a powerful example of how music can relate so well to our wider world.   

Read the review

Joyce DiDonato’s bold new musical mission – ‘I’m not really interested in superficiality right now, there’s plenty of that’: DiDonato’s new project asks us to reconnect with the natural world, finds Martin Cullingford – and what better way to do that than simply to stop and listen?


‘Russian Roots’ 

Katharina Konradi sop Trio Gaspard 

Chandos 

Kyrgyzstan soprano Katharina Konradi and Trio Gaspard offer us a diverse range of Russian-related works spanning centuries – from Beethoven to Auerbach, via Weinberg – all brilliantly performed. 

Read the review


Beethoven ‘Révolution, Vol 2’ Symphonies Nos 6-9

Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall

Alia Vox 

This is a thrilling, physical, probingly musical and invigoratingly alive-feeling period performance set of Beethoven symphonies, and a triumphant second half of conductor Jordi Savall’s full cycle.

Read the review


Respighi. Schoenberg. R Strauss ‘Métamorphoses nocturnes’ 

Appassionato / Mathieu Herzog 

Naïve 

Extraordinary string sound here from the former Ébène Quartet member’s ensemble.

Read the review


Brahms Clarinet Sonatas 

Michael Collins cl Stephen Hough pf 

BIS 

The third recording of the Brahms’s Clarinet sonatas from Michael Collins – see the January issue for his reasons for returning to the works – and a very beautifully performed one too.

Read the review


Weinberg ‘Light in Darkness’ 

Linus Roth vn et al 

Evil Penguin 

Linus Roth’s invaluable contribution to the Weinberg discography is here added to with another fine album, encompassing most of the works involving violin he’d not previously recorded.   

Read the review


CPE Bach Sonatas & Rondos

Marc-André Hamelin pf 

Hyperion 

Music of the ‘maverick of the Bach dynasty’, as reviewer Michelle Assay puts it, brought splendidly to life by a master pianist in both the reflective and the rhythmically joyous pieces alike. 

Read the review


Liszt ‘Vol 1: Death and Transfiguration’ 

Kenneth Hamilton pf 

Prima Facie 

Kenneth Hamilton offers a richly rewarding and brilliantly played Liszt survey, clearly deeply thought-through, and furthermore recorded on a fabulous sounding piano. 

Read the review


‘Maria & Maddalena’ 

Francesca Aspromonte sop I Barocchisti / Diego Fasolis 

Pentatone 

Music exploring the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene, communicated with compelling engagement, in a superb Baroque recital.

Read the review


‘Song’ 

The Hermes Experiment 

Delphian 

An entrancing album of songs, at times disarmingly moving, the group’s unique line-up (harp, clarinet, soprano, double bass) lending them all, despite their diversity, an intimate shared sound world. 

Read the review


Rameau Acante et Céphise 

Les Ambassadeurs – La Grande Écurie / Alexis Kossenko 

Erato 

An ‘enthralling triumph’ writes reviewer David Vickers, owing as much to perfect principal casting as to the impeccable instrumental playing throughout.

Read the review


‘Mirrors’ 

Jeanine De Bique sop Concerto Köln / Luca Quintavalle 

Berlin Classics 

A glorious showcase for Jeanine De Bique, whose rich and characterful voice displays jaw-dropping precision in passages of thrilling virtuosity, and poignant grace in the slower numbers. 

Read the review

Listen to Jeanine De Bique discuss 'Mirrors' on the Gramophone Podcast:


Grieg Songs 

Lise Davidsen sop Leif Ove Andsnes pf 

Decca 

This magazine’s admiration for the young soprano Lise Davidsen has led to a number of accolades already – and this album, on which Leif Ove Andsnes proves a perfect partner, deserves another.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Messiaen Orchestral Works 

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Kent Nagano 

BR-Klassik 

This superb collection of large-scale works by Messiaen, including Poèmes pour Mi and a remarkable La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus‑Christ, is brilliantly recorded. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Arensky. Shostakovich Piano Trios 

Trio Con Brio Copenhagen 

Orchid 

Two trios from Shostakovich – including his extraorindary Second – and one from Arensky, played with compelling conviction by Trio Con Brio Copenhagen.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Bartók String Quartets, Vol 2 

Ragazze Quartet 

Channel Classics 

Incredibly vivid Bartók-playing from the Ragazze Quartet, full of gripping physicality (superbly captured) which always seems to probe the music’s extremes in a way which feels utterly enticing.  

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Saint-Saëns ‘Chamber Music with Winds’ 

Soloists of the Orchestre de Paris 

Indésens 

A truly delightful contribution to Saint-Saëns anniversary events – a survey of his chamber music for wind instrument, from the players of the Orchestre de Paris.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Sol & Pat’ 

Patricia Kopatchinskaja vn Sol Gabetta vc 

Alpha 

Two brilliantly individual soloists bring their personalities to a partnership (and to incredibly diverse repertoire!) and an album that delights from beginning to end.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Time Traveler’s Suite’ 

Inon Barnatan pf 

Pentatone 

A fascinating and thought-provoking piece of programming – spanning the Baroque to the 21st century – that works wonderfully, thanks of course to Inon Barnatan’s hugely impressive pianism. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Monteverdi ‘Daylight – Stories of Songs, Dances and Loves’ 

Concerto Italiano / Rinaldo Alessandrini 

Naïve 

A sequel to Concerto Italiano’s 2017 album of nocturnal-themed madrigals again spans Monteverdi’s life to build an inspired recital.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Unreleased’ 

Cecilia Bartoli mez Basel Chamber Orchestra / Muhai Tang 

Decca 

These ‘Unreleased’ Cecilia Bartoli tracks date from back in 2013 – but, full as they are of the mezzo’s famed dramatic presence and jaw-dropping virtuosity, they are well worth the wait!

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Handel ‘Handel’s Unsung Heroes’ 

Sols; La Nuova Musica / David Bates 

Pentatone 

A splendid line-up of Handel soloists – including Iestyn Davies and Lucy Crowe – joins players on equally stunning form for another triumph masterminded by conductor David Bates. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


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