Gramophone Awards 2020



Gramophone has announced its shortlist for the 2020 Classical Music Awards, highlighting 60 of the year’s standout recordings. We send our congratulations to the nominated artists!

2020’s awards ceremony is presented in partnership with Apple Music, E. Gutzwiller & Cie, Banquiers, and Help Musicians UK, and will be held virtually on 6 October. Audiences can tune in on Medici TV.

We are putting the spotlight on our nominated artists, and you can discover the entire shortlist in Gramophone‘s digital magazine.

Listed in order of editorial appearance


VILDE FRANG

with Barnabás Kelemen, Katalin Kokas, Lawrence Power, Nicolas Altstaedt & Alexander Longquich
BARTÓK: Piano Quintet
VERESS: String Trio
Alpha
Listen

“…Vilde Frang, Lawrence Power and Nicolas Altstaedt grant it a superb performance, the best I’ve yet heard in fact.”

ROBIN TRITSCHLER

with Philippe Herreweghe & Collegium Vocale Gent
BACH: St John Passion
PHI
Listen

“…It is quite overwhelming, especially in the heartfelt hands of Robin Tritschler.”

SOPHIE BEVAN & JESS DANDY

with John Butt, Dunedin Consort & Tiffin Boys’ Choir
HANDEL: Samson
Linn
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“Sophie and Mary Bevan, both natural Handelian stylists, are well-nigh ideal. Sophie … sings Dalila’s arias with seductive grace and gives every bit as good as she gets in the slanging match of ‘Traitor to love.'”

“Jess Dandy, a true contralto, is the oratorio’s voice of balm, singing the sublime prayer ‘Return, O God of hosts’ with warm, even tone and broad phrasing.”

TOBY SPENCE

with William Vann, London Mozart Players & Crouch End Festival Chorus
PARRY: Judith, or The Regeneration of Manasseh
Chandos
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“Toby Spence is passionate and heroic as King Manasseh…”

ROBIN TICCIATI

with Christian Tetzlaff & Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto
SIBELIUS: Violin Concerto
Ondine
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“The Concerto’s opening is candidly emotional, with imaginatively deployed varieties of attack (a Tetzlaff specialty) and Ticciati again engaging his soloist with the utmost sensitivity, lunging fearlessly with Sibelius’s dynamic writing, whether the defeaning growl at 7’07” or the movement’s fiercely driven close.”

DANIEL HARDING

with Isabelle Faust & Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
SCHOENBERG: Violin Concerto
SCHOENBERG: Verklärte Nacht
Harmonia Mundi
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“Building to its tersely triumphant final cadence, the whole performance is superbly sustained…”

THOMAS ADÈS, CHRISTIANNE STOTIJN & MARK STONE

with Boston Symphony Orchestra
ADÈS: Piano Concerto
ADÈS: Totentanz
Deutsche Grammophon
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“…it can hardly have sounded as focused or as forensically brilliant as in Boston, with the same structural nous, sustained tension (tempos and volume are expertly ractcheted), and pronounced undertow.”

VIRGINIE VERREZ

with Emma Bell, Edgaras Montvidas, London Philharmonic Orchestra & The Glyndebourne Chorus
BARBER: Vanessa
Opus Arte
Watch

“The close-ups here (and these ladies are all ready for them) are hugely revealing. Rosalind Plowright’s Baroness is a gaunt, watchful presence; Emma Bell’s highly strung Vanessa is all pent-up frustration; and in between Virginie Verrez’s Erika – a quite marvellous performance – is slowly but surely turning into both of them.”

IESTYN DAVIES & SOPHIE BEVAN

with Rebecca Bottone, David Bates & La Nuova Musica
GLUCK: Orfeo ed Euridice
Pentatone
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“The soloists are magnificent. Iestyn Davies sings smoothly throughout, hitting top Ds and Es with no sense of strain … Sophie Bevan comes across powerfully.”

JOYCE DIDONATO, FRANCO FAGIOLI & ANDREA MASTRONI

with Maxim Emelyanychev & Il Pomo d’Oro
HANDEL: Agrippina
Erato
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“With DiDonato nonpareil in the title-role and a uniformly strong cast, this now becomes a first choice for Handel’s Venetian masterpiece.”

ASHLEY RICHES

with Paul McCreesh & Gabrieli Consort & Players
PURCELL: King Arthur
Winged Lion/Signum
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“The Frost Scene is given a charming performance by Rowan Pierce’s gleeful Cupid and Ashley Riches’s thawing Cold Genius.”

ASMIK GRIGORIAN

with Franz Welser-Möst & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
R STRAUSS: Salome
Unitel/C Major Entertainment
Watch

“Asmik Grigorian’s erotically charged Salome is outstanding and the main reason you should at least try to see this performance … The Lithuanian soprano sings the role superbly, a lighter soprano than many of the tungsten-plated heavies heard elsewhere, but flecked with steel nonetheless … She is a terrific actress, too: sulky, steamy, and manipulative.”

IESTYN DAVIES

with James Hall, Robert King & The King’s Consort
Elegy, music of PURCELL & BLOW
Vivat
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“The latest disc from The King’s Consort on the independent Vivat label is absolutely on point: with two wonderfully matched countertenors and superb recorder-playing … The big draw is, of course, Iestyn Davies, and for me his performance of Purcell’s ‘O solitude’ is a clear standout. Davies sings the entire song in falsetto, maintaining his tone’s silvery thread through even the most fiendish passages. His word-painting is nuanced, subtle and intimate.”

JONATHAN COHEN

with Kate Lindsey & Arcangelo
HANDEL: Ah! crudel, nelpianto mio
HAYDN: Arianna a Naxos
A SCARLATTI: L’Arianna
Alpha
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“The playing of Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen is typically high-quality, and often heartbreakingly attendant to the drama. This is a lovely programme, expertly performed and full of touching feeling and imagination.”

LUCY CROWE

with Mary Bevan, Bridget Cunningham & London Early Opera
Handel’s Queens
Signum
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“…Lucy Crowe plays Cuzzoni as a bright soprano whose technical precision and agile upward-leaping ornaments combine with musicality to impress and move…”

ALEXANDRE BLOCH

with Véronique Gens & Lille National Orchestra
CHAUSSON: Poème de l’amour et de la mer
CHAUSSON: Symphony
Alpha
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“Superbly sung, and wonderfully well conducted by Alexandre Bloch and his Lille orchestra, this is an interpretation of great beauty and insight.”

NICKY SPENCE

with Julius Drake, Václava Housková, Victoria Samek & Voice
JANACEK: The Diary of One who Disappeared
JANACEK: Rikadla
JANACEK: Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs
Hyperion
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“Not only does Spence’s voice offer a rare mix of steely strength and velvety tenderness but his bright, vibrant timbre communicates a touching, wide-eyed sense of ardent longing, tinged with melancholy.”

ELSA DREISIG

with Jonathan Ware
Morgen
Erato
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“Elsa Dreisig’s striking debut album presented images of operatic characters (‘Miroir(s)’, 12/18). The French-Danish soprano, pianist Jonathan Ware and the ever-imaginative Erato have cooked up something similarly out of the ordinary for her first solo song album. The result is one of the most purely seductive recitals to have come my way for a long time.”

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