Voting is now open for the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2018 nominations.

Orchestral

MAHLER Symphonie No. 3. Gerhild Romberger, Augsburger Domsingknaben Frauenchor, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Bernard Haitink. BR Klassik 2cdsMAHLER Symphonie No. 3. Gerhild Romberger, Augsburger Domsingknaben Frauenchor, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Bernard Haitink. BR Klassik 2cds
“Bernard Haitink’s first recording of Mahler’s Third Symphony was half a century ago in Amsterdam. The view hasn’t changed too much – a measured survey of the immense opening movement through to a mesmerising account of the great final Adagio – but the playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony is outstanding, and beautifully captured in concert.”

SCHMIDT Symphony No. 2 R. STRAUSS Dreaming By The Fireside. Wiener Philharmoniker / Semyon Bychkov. Sony“SCHMIDT Symphony No. 2 R. STRAUSS Dreaming By The Fireside. Wiener Philharmoniker / Semyon Bychkov. Sony
Semyon Bychkov pleads masterpiece status for a rarity. Schmidt’s late Romantic style needs the sheen of the Vienna Philharmonic, here captured in outstandingly natural and spacious sound – this is a winner on the engineering front, too. The jury was unanimous in welcoming this splendid risk from a major label.”

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Job, Symphony No. 9 Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis. Chandos SACDVAUGHAN WILLIAMS Job, Symphony No. 9 Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis. Chandos SACD
“Vaughan Williams’s final symphony has the sinister bite of Shostakovich at his bleakest – a quality not lost on Davis and his Bergen ensemble who have a tight grip on the work’s waspish qualities with playing of eeriness and beauty. The Elizabethan-inspired Job is cloaked in luscious sound.”

Concerto

FAGERLUND / AHO Bassoon Concertos. Bram van Sambeek, Lahti Symphony Orchestra / Okko Kamu, Dima Slobodeniouk. BIS Records SACDFAGERLUND / AHO Bassoon Concertos. Bram van Sambeek, Lahti Symphony Orchestra / Okko Kamu, Dima Slobodeniouk. BIS Records SACD
“This collection of contemporary works for the oft-neglected bassoon is a revelation. Vital new pieces by Fagerlund and Aho highlight the fire and heart of the instrument, Bram van Sambeek delivers flawless performances, the Lahti Symphony are on fire, and the sound quality is top-notch.”

MOZART Violin Concertos. Isabelle Faust, Il Giardino Armonico / Giovanni Antonini. Harmonia Mundi 2cdsMOZART Violin Concertos. Isabelle Faust, Il Giardino Armonico / Giovanni Antonini. Harmonia Mundi 2cds
“Everything feels right about this recording. Isabelle Faust brings purity and playfulness to Mozart’s five violin concertos, youthful works with a freshness of spirit that comes across here with fluent ease. Andreas Staier’s cadenzas are an inspired choice.”

RONDEAU, JEAN Dynastie. Works by J. S. Bach, J. C. Bach, W. F. Bach, C. P. E. Bach. EratoRONDEAU, JEAN Dynastie. Works by J. S. Bach, J. C. Bach, W. F. Bach, C. P. E. Bach. Erato
“Jean Rondeau is a firecracker harpsichordist – phrasing, rhythms, ornamentation delivered with panache and intelligence. JS Bach’s D minor Concerto has rarely sounded so urgent, while Rondeau delights in the impishness of JS’s son CPE’s own D minor Concerto. The orchestral playing is vibrant.”

RONDEAU, JEAN Dynastie. Works by J. S. Bach, J. C. Bach. Erato Vinyl LPRONDEAU, JEAN Dynastie. Works by J. S. Bach, J. C. Bach. Erato Vinyl LP

Opera

HALLENBERG, ANN Carnevale 1729. Geminiano Giacomelli, Giuseppe Maria Orlandini, Geminiano Giacomelli, Tomaso Albinoni, Nicola Porpora, Leonardo Leo, Leonardo Vinci. Pentatone Classics 2SACDsHALLENBERG, ANN Carnevale 1729. Geminiano Giacomelli, Giuseppe Maria Orlandini, Geminiano Giacomelli, Tomaso Albinoni, Nicola Porpora, Leonardo Leo, Leonardo Vinci. Pentatone Classics 2SACDs
“A programme loosely based on the 18th-century Venetian carnival offers Ann Hallenberg a colourful window to dazzle us with her astounding virtuosity. Here is a glorious voice which never falters and whose intuitive ornamentation is a constant delight. Il Pomo d’Oro under Stefano Montanari’s direction provides vital support.”

BERLIOZ Les Troyens. Joyce DiDonato, Michael Spyres, Marie-Nicole Lemieux etc., Orchestre Philharmonique De Strasbourg / John Nelson. Erato 4cds + DVDBERLIOZ Les Troyens. Joyce DiDonato, Michael Spyres, Marie-Nicole Lemieux etc., Orchestre Philharmonique De Strasbourg / John Nelson. Erato 4cds + DVD
“Erato’s much-anticipated recording of this four-hour epic, made live in Strasbourg at concerts conducted by Berlioz specialist John Nelson, did not disappoint. It captures thrilling performances from Joyce DiDonato as Didon and from Michael Spyres, at the peak of his powers, as Énée, and from a supporting cast of impressive strength.”

ANDRIESSEN, LOUIS Theatre of the World. Los Angeles Philharmonic / Reinbert de Leeuw. Nonesuch 2cdsANDRIESSEN, LOUIS Theatre of the World. Los Angeles Philharmonic / Reinbert de Leeuw. Nonesuch 2cds
“Louis Andriessen calls it a grotesque in nine scenes, turning the life of 17th-century German polymath, Jesuit and scientist Athanasius Kircher into a Faustian journey of self-discovery. Using a mixture of languages, children’s songs, Baroque music, jazz and modernism, it’s a dizzying kaleidoscopic creation from a master of stagecraft.”

Choral

PART, ARVO The Deer's Cry. Vox Clamantis & Jaan-Eick Tulve. ECM New SeriesPART, ARVO The Deer’s Cry. Vox Clamantis & Jaan-Eick Tulve. ECM New Series
“From the incantatory style of The Deer’s Cry to the gently layered Veni Creator with its simple, quasi-medieval organ accompaniment, Pärt’s choral music requires precision and sensitivity, qualities that are in abundance in this stunningly recorded album. Hard to imagine this music better performed.”

MARTINU Cantatas. Prague Philharmonic Choir / Lukas Vasilek. SupraphonMARTINU Cantatas. Prague Philharmonic Choir / Lukas Vasilek. Supraphon
“Every new Martinů release from Supraphon over the past few years has been treasurable, but this compendium offers the composer’s miraculous poetic cantatas inspired by folk wisdom and timely ecological parables. Unorthodox instrumental combinations and superb singing heighten the pleasures of this recording.”

EIN FESTE BURG IST UNSER GOTT Luther and the music of the Reformation. Vox Luminis, Lionel Meunier, Bart Jacobs. Ricercar 2cdsEIN FESTE BURG IST UNSER GOTT Luther and the music of the Reformation. Vox Luminis, Lionel Meunier, Bart Jacobs. Ricercar 2cds
“Music played an important part in Lutheran worship. Marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Vox Luminis and director Lionel Meunier offer an illuminating exploration of Luther’s hymns and Gospel translations in settings by many of JS Bach’s predecessors. All is warmly performed, and wonderfully presented in a generously illustrated book format.”

Vocal

ALL WHO WANDER Works by Gustav Mahler, Antonin Dvorak, Jean Sibelius. Jamie Barton, Brian Zeger. DelosALL WHO WANDER Works by Gustav Mahler, Antonin Dvorak, Jean Sibelius. Jamie Barton, Brian Zeger. Delos
“The long wait for Jamie Barton’s debut recital disc was worth every minute. Barton, double winner of 2013’s BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, is wonderfully idiomatic in Dvořák and Sibelius, and she and her pianist give a performance of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder that is up there with the greatest.”

BLOW, JOHN An Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell & other works. Samuel Boden, Thomas Walker, Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen. Hyperion RecordsBLOW, JOHN An Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell & other works. Samuel Boden, Thomas Walker, Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen. Hyperion Records
“Blow’s music deserves to be better known as these stylish performances demonstrate. High tenors rather than the usually heard countertenors sing the Ode on the Death of Henry Purcell while the remaining programme uncovers music which is seldom heard but is of sterling merit.”

FATA MORGANA Song by Pavel Haas. Anita Watson, Anna Starvshkevych, Nicky Spence, James Platt, Navarra Quartet, Lada Valesova. Resonus ClassicsFATA MORGANA Song by Pavel Haas. Anita Watson, Anna Starvshkevych, Nicky Spence, James Platt, Navarra Quartet, Lada Valesova. Resonus Classics
“This captivating collection is everything a recording should be. The brain-child of pianist-musicologist Lada Valešová, the disc celebrates the delicately enthralling songs of 20th-century Czech composer Pavel Haas (including a premiere recording, of Fata Morgana), performed with beauty and care.”

Chamber

LIGETI Six Bagatelles, Kammerkonzert, Dix pour quintette a vents. Les Siecles, Francois-Xavier Roth. Actes SudLIGETI Six Bagatelles, Kammerkonzert, Dix pour quintette a vents. Les Siecles, Francois-Xavier Roth. Actes Sud
“Ligeti’s brilliance, wit and quirky originality are at their most obvious in the wind quintet pieces, while the Chamber Concerto is a major work with a frenetic finale. Les Siècles play it all with exhilarating virtuosity, and utterly seductive wind timbres.”

A NOBLE & MELANCHOLY INSTRUMENT Works by Beethoven, Schumann, Strauss, Rossini, Saint-Saens, Glazunov, Dukas, Gilbert Vinter. Alec Frank-Gemmill, Alasdair Beatson. BIS Records SACDA NOBLE & MELANCHOLY INSTRUMENT Works by Beethoven, Schumann, Strauss, Rossini, Saint-Saens, Glazunov, Dukas, Gilbert Vinter. Alec Frank-Gemmill, Alasdair Beatson. BIS Records SACD
“This beautifully thought-through disc has horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill and pianist Alasdair Beatson playing four different pianos and four different horns, all historically appropriate, in a programme ranging through Rossini, Glazunov, Dukas and more. Their warm, easy musicianship makes this edifying and effortlessly enjoyable.”

DEBUSSY Sonatas & Trio. Renaud Capucon, Bertrand Chamayou, Geraurd Causse, Emmanuel Pahud, Marie-Pierre Langlamet, Edgar Moreau. EratoDEBUSSY Sonatas & Trio. Renaud Capucon, Bertrand Chamayou, Geraurd Causse, Emmanuel Pahud, Marie-Pierre Langlamet, Edgar Moreau. Erato
“This is luxury casting for Debussy, with a clutch of the finest Francophone musicians from across the generations coming together for the occasion. Their readings of the late sonatas are packed with glorious detail, while Renaud Capuçon, Bertrand Chamayou and Edgar Moreau make a great case for the early Piano Trio.”

Instrumental

 HUMPHREYS, FENELLA Bach 2 the Future Vol. 2. Works by Sutton, Ysaye, Beamish, Bach, Maxwell Davies, Stravinsky, Sibelius. Champs Hill Records
HUMPHREYS, FENELLA Bach 2 the Future Vol. 2. Works by Sutton, Ysaye, Beamish, Bach, Maxwell Davies, Stravinsky, Sibelius. Champs Hill Records

“This gutsy and exhilarating disc completes violinist Fenella Humphreys’s laudable project to commission and record six companion pieces to Bach’s Partitas. Featuring splendid new compositions by Sally Beamish, Peter Maxwell Davies and Adrian Sutton alongside works by Bach, Ysaÿe, Stravinsky and Sibelius, the disc is performed with great precision and verve.”

REAMS & FANCIES: English Music for Solo Guitar. Works by William Walton, Lennox Berkeley, John Dowland, Malcolm Arnold, Benjamin Britten. Sean Shibe. DelphianREAMS & FANCIES: English Music for Solo Guitar. Works by William Walton, Lennox Berkeley, John Dowland, Malcolm Arnold, Benjamin Britten. Sean Shibe. Delphian
“Not just great guitar playing, but for two members of this year’s jury the best they had ever heard. At 25, Sean Shibe is that rare thing, a mature philosopher among musicians. He draws a rainbow of colours from his instrument, and Arnold’s Fantasy is a highlight in a balanced programme of English music.”

SCHUBERT Piano Sonatas D959 & D960. Krystian Zimerman. Deutsche GrammophonSCHUBERT Piano Sonatas D959 & D960. Krystian Zimerman. Deutsche Grammophon
“The soundworld of this disc is immediately striking: Zimerman has added his own keyboard into a Steinway to create an instrument more akin to what Schubert might have known. But it’s not just the singing tone that sets these performances apart: Zimerman’s take on these two late sonatas is carefully thought through and deeply felt.”