BBC Music Magazine Awards 2019

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2019

2018 was another fantastic year for recordings, but which ones were utterly unmissable? In December, the BBC Music Magazine awards jury was tasked with the (enviable) job of listening afresh to each recording given five stars by their critics throughout the previous year.

The winners have now been announced following a ceremony held at King's Place in London on 10 April. Special congratulations go to Vikingur Olafsson and his superb recording of Bach keyboard works and transcriptions, winner of the 2019 Recording of the Year.

All winners and other nominations can be found below, with the winners being available at very special prices until the end of April. Simply click on the images for more information.

You can jump to a particular category using the following links:


"The BBC Music Magazine Awards offer the serious and merited celebration of sustained excellence in music-making... the public votes are cast not for superficial glamour but for real and enduring quality". Harry Eyres, Financial Times

Instrumental Category featuring RECORDING OF THE YEAR!

Guitar works by Oswald, MacMillan, Reich, Wolfe etc

"This concept album showcases guitarist Sean Shibe’s dazzling musicianship, pitting gentler works against dramatic pieces, on acoustic and electric guitar. All are sympathetically transcribed from their original forms – including Julia Wolfe’s LAD, first scored for nine bagpipes, and Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint."
Bach - Piano Works and Transcriptions
Bach, JS
Piano Works and Transcriptions

"Vikingur Ólafsson’s beautifully crafted Bach programme is a balm for the ears. His mix of original keyboard works and arrangements by a host of pianist-composers is played with such joy – his articulation is pin-sharp, his dynamic and tonal control constant delights. If ever there was an album to demonstrate Bach’s timelessness, this is it.

Debussy - Preludes Book 2 etc
Preludes Book 2,
La Mer (transc 2 pianos)
Melnikov, Pashchenko

"The Debussy centenary year of 2018 has thrown up some memorable souvenirs on disc but few as fine as Alexander Melnikov’s sublimely nuanced account of the complete Préludes Book 2 on an Erard piano of the period. Shimmering and mysterious, its colours captivate, and the duet incarnation of La mer is nothing short of a revelation."

Bacewicz - Piano Quintets etc
Piano Quintets 1 & 2, Quartest for 4 Violins and 4 Cellos
Silesian Quartet and friends

"The Polish composer’s two piano quartets might be the headlining works on this sequel to the Silesians’ superb 2016 quartets release, yet equally compelling are their vividly imagined cousins for four cellos and – a miracle of airborne vivacity – four violins. Impassioned and imposing, this is a disc to win Bacewicz new friends."
Debussy - The Late Works
The Late Works
Faust, Queyras, de Maistre, Tamestit, Mosnier, Melnikov etc

"Whether you’re captivated by the shifting colours of the Violin Sonata, the bold nobility of the Cello Sonata or the sheer atmospheric magic of the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, this is an unmissable showcase of Debussy’s late music. A classy line-up of Harmonia Mundi’s finest musicians offer refreshing insights."

Violin works by Bartok, Poulenc, Ravel and Dohnanyi
Kopatchinskaja, Leschenko

"Con fuoco – with fire – it says at the start of the Poulenc Violin Sonata, and dangerous incandescence is just what you get from this duo, followed by sweetness and nostalgia, bitterness and regret, anger and playfulness. Kopatchinskaja and Leschenko give us almost impossibly mercurial playing in a daring recital."

Parle qui veut
Parle Qui Veut
Moralizing Songs of the
Middle Ages
Solazzo Ensemble

"These prize-winning young musicians show us that early music can be as ingenious and socially pointed as our own – compassionate (Pour che que je ne puis), vengeful (Dal traditor), and full of everyday life (the market scene in Cacciando per gustar). Their spontaneous interpretations mix tender delicacy with drama."
A Rose Magnificat
A Rose Magnificat
Leighton, Tallis, Warlock, White, MacMillan, Sheppard, Park etc
Gabrieli Consort, McCreesh

"Here we have musical reflections on the Virgin Mary, ranging from deliciously sensuous Tallis to Peter Warlock’s lilting harmonies, and the glowing 16th-century splendour of Robert White’s Magnificat. The radiant purity of the singing is framed by the depth and clarity of the recording, and the choral virtuosity in the title track at the end of the album is breathtaking."

Park - Choral Works
Choral Works
Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, Layton

"There are many unctuous, somewhat anonymous choral discs. By contrast Park conjures up a brilliant, modern prism of sounds through which we glimpse fragments and hints of other traditions – Greek orthodox, Elizabethan, ancient hymns and even folksong – all marvellously performed."

Bartok - Violin Concertos
Violin Concertos 1 & 2
Tetzlaff, Finnish Radio SO, Lintu

"Violinist Christian Tetzlaff gleams in this impressive recording of Bartók’s pair of violin concertos; the expressive Second Concerto is recorded here with the orchestral ending originally envisaged by the composer. Hannu Lintu and the Finnish Radio Symphony deliver top-drawer playing, and Tetzlaff is lyrical and virtuosic."
Rachmaninov - Piano Concertos 2 & 4
Piano Concertos 2 & 4
Trifonov, Philadelphia Orchestra, Nezet-Seguin

"The cover artwork may baffle, but the music within is universally enchanting. The partita acts as a sorbet between delicious concertos; Trifonov seals his reputation as a fine Rachmaninovian – and the Philadelphia Orchestra is first class, too."

Crusell - Clarinet Concertos
Clarinet Concertos, Grand Concerto etc
Collins, Swedish Chamber Orchestra

"These 19th-century Finnish compositions may be new to you, but they’re famous among clarinettists for their sheer celebration of trickery (Op. 12) and expressive potential (Op. 5). The superbly musical Michael Collins runs rings around their challenges with the nimble aplomb of a circus pony."

Adams - Dr Atomic
Doctor Atomic
BBC Singers and SO, Adams

"This disc impressed the jury for both the musicality of the performance and the high quality of the sound engineering: it is the first studio recording of John Adams’s 2005 opera Doctor Atomic and you won’t want to miss it. Adams, conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, coaxes colour and emotion as the score builds to its painful conclusion."
Handel - Acis and Galatea
Acis and Galatea
Early Opera Company, Curnyn

"An enraptured couple, a lovelorn monster and a happy ending – of sorts! Handel’s beguiling bitesized serenata never fails, and in Christian Curnyn’s infectiously zippy reading it’s an irresistible triumph. His Early Opera Company is on sparkling form, and soprano Lucy Crowe and tenor Allan Clayton shine as the eponymous twosome."

Rossini - Semiramide
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Elder

"This benchmark recording presents the complete, four-hour Semiramide – Rossini’s longest opera and the last he wrote in Italy – with epic dramatic sweep, clean-limbed period-instrument flair and thrilling bel canto from an exceptional cast. Attention to expressive detail is astonishing under Sir Mark Elder, and the ensemble sublime."

Tchaikovsky - Symphony no.6
Symphony no.6
MusicAeterna, Currentzis

"MusicAeterna and Teodor Currentzis encapsulate Tchaikovsky’s inner turmoil like no other recording in this staggeringly played and brilliantly captured performance. From start to finish, these terrific musicians demand our absolute attention, charging each bar with an often savage intensity. There’s precision alongside the passion, too."
Mahler - Symphony no.1
Symphony no.1
Dusseldorf SO, A Fischer

"The opening mists are painted with a lightness that anticipates Adám Fischer’s approach to the whole of this First Symphony, and a performance that flows beautifully to an exhilarating conclusion. You may have felt little brother Iván Fischer in Budapest had cornered the Mahler market, but Adám is similarly coaxing astonishing playing from his German orchestra."

Adams - Naive and Sentimental Music
Naive and Sentimental Music, Absolute Jest
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Oundjian

"Full of incisive textures and driving rhythms, Adams’s contrasting homages to European culture are given whipsmart performances by
the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Peter Oundjian, in his final year as music director. Joined by the Doric String Quartet and guitarist Sean Shibe it’s a dazzling – and moving – virtuosic display."

Messager, Debussy, Delibes, Stravinsky, Berlioz etc
Devieilhe, Les Siecles, Roth

"This jewel of a recording transports us to the exotic east as imagined by 19th-century French composers. Sabine Devieilhe proves an exquisite, effortless guide to well-known and rare repertoire, hand-in-glove with Les Siècles and François-Xavier Roth."

Schumann, Mahler - Lieder
Boesch, Martineau

"Schumann and Mahler prove a fine lyric pairing in this compelling recital. Beautifully at one, Boesch and Martineau reveal an intimate inner world of emotion in subtle layers. From rapturous ‘Mondnacht’ to anguish in ‘Die zwei blaue Augen’, the journey is one of exquisite artistry."

Rameau, Rebel and Gluck
Degout, Pygmalion, Pichon

"A brilliantly conceived project sees Rameau’s Requiem interspersed with extracts from works by Gluck and Rebel, each recast to create a vivid musical story that takes the listener on a hair-raising journey into the underworld. The performances by Degout and Pygmalion are scintillating."
Premiere Award
Viola Concerto
Tamestit, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Harding
DVD Award
Billy Budd
Imbrailo, Spence, Sherratt, Teatro Real del Madrid, Bolton
Newcomer of the Year
Works for cello and piano by Prokofiev, Myaskovsky, Shaporin and Lyadov
van der Heijden, Limonov