The winners of the 16th annual BBC Music Magazine Awards – the only classical music recording awards in which the main categories are voted for by the public – have been announced at a glittering ceremony at Kings Place in London.
On DSCH, pianist Igor Levit’s ambitious album of works by Shostakovich and Ronald Stevenson, has been awarded the Instrumental prize and the most prestigious trophy of the evening – Recording of the Year. Praised for its subtlety and intimacy, the album includes Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues and Stevenson’s Passacaglia On DSCH, in which the Scottish composer turns Shostakovich’s four-note musical monogram into a gargantuan three-part epic. Only a handful of pianists have scaled the heights of Stevenson’s tour de force and Levit does so in unforgettable style.
On winning Recording of the Year, Igor Levit has commented: ‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart. For this recording to receive this award means the world to me. For me, it represents a ritual of self-exploration and self-discovery that deals with the most intimate questions.’
A monumental triumph
Charlotte Smith, editor of BBC Music Magazine adds: ‘This is a monumental triumph from an artist recognised for pushing himself to the limits of musical achievement. Levit’s playing is humane and nuanced in the Shostakovich, a work inspired by Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier – and in the Stevenson he navigates the intense and epic score in remarkable style.’
This year’s Personality of the Year goes to BBC Music Magazine March issue cover star Nicky Spence. The tenor has been a true force for good over the last 12 months – from his high calibre operatic performances, to volunteering as a vaccinator during the pandemic and his Sky Arts show Anyone Can Sing, it has been an incredible year.
Tenor Freddie De Tommaso has won the Newcomer Award for his beautiful debut album Passione of tenor arias by Puccini, Tosti et al. Sung in the tradition of De Tomasso’s hero Franco Corelli, the recording is stylish and heartfelt, spinning gold out of the simplest of popular Italian songs.
The Vocal Award has gone to soprano Kateřina Kněžíková’s delightful album Phidyle, which showcases her ravishing tone in orchestra-accompanied songs.
Orchestral and chamber awards
This year’s Orchestral Award goes to the Sinfonia of London and conductor John Wilson for their recording of Dutilleux’s Le Loup, while the Choral Award goes to emotive performances of JS Bach’s Cantatas, BWV 32, 82 & 106 by the Dunedin Consort.
The Chamber Award goes to Ravel and Saint-Saëns Piano Trios by the Sitkovetsky Trio, and the Concerto Award has been awarded toviolinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, cellist Sol Gabetta and Camerata Bern’s adventurous disc Plaisirs illuminés.
The Opera Award has been given to composer Philip Glass’s Akhnaten, performed by Anthony Roth Costanzo, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Karen Kamensek.
Finally, the Premiere Award goes to The Jukebox Album, including works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Clarice Assad, Jesse Montgomery and performed by violinist Elena Urioste and pianist Tom Poster. The jury praised the recording for its genre-busting performances, inspired by a lockdown project that helped to spread the joy of music far and wide.
The winners of the 2022 Awards were announced at a live ceremony at London’s Kings Place, hosted by BBC Music Magazine editor Charlotte Smith and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service, and featured live performances from several award winners, including Personality of the Year Nicky Spence and Premiere Award winning pianist Tom Poster and violinist Elena Urioste.
Audio clips from all the winning albums can be found on the BBC Music Magazine website, along with links to online retailers. The winners represent the absolute best of more than 900 albums reviewed each year in BBC Music Magazine, the world’s best-selling classical music magazine.
BBC Music Magazine Award Winners 2022
INSTRUMENTAL AND RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Works by Shostakovich and R Stevenson
Igor Levit (piano)
Sony Classical 19439809212
PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Ravel Saint-Saëns: Piano Trios
JS Bach: Cantatas, BWV 32, 82 & 106
Dunedin Consort/John Butt
Linn Records CKD672
Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin), Sol Gabetta (cello); Camerata Bern et al
Alpha Classics ALPHA580
Philip Glass: Akhnaten
Anthony Roth Costanzo et al; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus/Karen Kamensek; dir. Phelim McDermott (NYC, 2019)
Orange Mountain Music DVD OMM5011
Dutilleux: Le Loup
Sinfonia of London/John Wilson
Chandos CHSA 5263
Kateřina Kněžíková (soprano); Janáček Philharmonic/Robert Jindra
The Jukebox Album
Works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Clarice Assad, Jesse Montgomery et al
Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano)
Orchid Classics ORC100173
Tenor Arias by Puccini, Tosti et al
Freddie De Tommaso (tenor)
Decca 485 1509