The winners of the 2020 BBC Music Magazine Awards include violinist Vilde Frang, bass-baritone Ashley Riches, tenor Nicky Spence, and mezzo-soprano Virginie Verrez. The awards celebrate the best of classical music recordings and are chosen by shortlist and popular vote.
Vilde Frang receives the Chamber Award for her Alpha Classics release of the Veress String Trio and Bartók Piano Quintet in C Major, recorded alongside Barnabás Kelemen, Katalin Kokas, Nicolas Altstaedt, and Alexander Lonquich. Gramophone writes that “what makes this CD unmissable is the Veress Trio, a masterpiece and a performance to match.” The album is released in partnership with the Lockenhaus International Chamber Music Festival.
The Recording of the Year and Opera Award go to the Signum Classics release of Purcell’s King Arthur, featuring Ashley Riches alongside Paul McCreesh, the Gabrieli Players, and a stellar cast of soloists. BBC Music Magazine calls it “a ravishing new production,” continuing that the “choruses are more vibrant, dance rhythms more percussive and solos more delicate than in any previous recording.”
Nicky Spence is honored with the Vocal Award for his recording of Janácek’s haunting song cycle The diary of one who disappeared, available on Hyperion. Nicky also performs the composer’s Nursery Rhymes and Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs, and is joined by pianist Julius Drake, mezzo-soprano Václava Housková, the vocal trio Voice, and clarinetist Victoria Samek. Gramophone lauds the recording as “a hauntingly eloquent and moving performance of The diary of one who disappeared … revelatory, with the tenor on brilliantly communicative form.”
Virginie Verrez features in Barber’s Vanessa, winner of the DVD Award. The Opus Arte release captures a performance at Glyndebourne with Jakub Hrůša and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Glyndebourne Chorus, Emma Bell, Edgaras Montvidas, Rosalind Plowright, and Donnie Ray Albert. “Magnificent,” writes The Spectator. “A beautiful, thought-provoking production of an opera that toys cat-like with your intellect even as it tears at your heart.”