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Recordings Of The Year 2012

This is the tenth year that Musicweb International has asked its reviewing team to nominate their recordings of the year. Reviewers are not restricted to discs they had reviewed, but the choices must have been reviewed on MWI in the last 12 months (December 2011-November 2012).

136 selections have come in from 25 members of the team, the choices as always reflecting a great diversity of music and sources: the nominated recordings come from 63 different labels.

Of the nominations, eight received two nominations:
•  Stéphane Denève's Debussy collection on Chandos
•  the much-lauded Elgar Apostles with the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder
•  cello and percussion concertos by Rautavaara on Ondine
•  Sir Simon Rattle's Bruckner 9 in its completed version oin EMI
•  Corelli's famous concerto set on Linn
•  the Symphonie Fantastique from Scotland with Robin Ticciati on Linn
•  Glazunov's Raymonda from La Scala on Arthaus
•  the completion of Moeran's second symphony on Dutton (see below)

For the fourth year running, Naxos secured most nominations - 12. This time, they were closely followed by Chandos with 10, and given the fewer reviewed recordings, Chandos is the Musicweb International Label of the Year.

Click on the cover image to read the full review.

E.J. MOERAN Symphony 2 Overture for a Festival John IRELAND Sarnia Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2011 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7281

While new recordings of the standards have continued to be issued alongside recordings of music never previously recorded 2012 has for me been a year dominated by bargain boxes and reissues. The prices of boxed sets often represent fabulous value for money. Though we live in this turbulent and chaotic vanity fair of a market these are halcyon years for music lovers of all classical styles and preferences.

The rolling road that is the expiry of copyright continues to reintroduce old and new friends from labels with which they are unfamiliar such as the excellent Naxos, Alto, Pristine, Heritage and Brilliant Classics. Often these jostle for space with issues of the same recordings on their ‘home’ labels with access to first generation recorded originals.

The majors have largely continued their mission to present celebrity-accented material but Decca, EMI, Sony and Universal have also been splendidly active in the reissue field, particularly the former with the deluxe reissue of the Solti Ring cycle. Other labels continue to plough their own furrows: where heroism meets commerce. Labels of the eminence and allure of Hyperion, BIS, Ondine, CPO and Dacapo match up the most exalted production values, stimulating new talent and fresh repertoire. The likes of tirelessly magnificent Dutton, inspired and diligent Toccata (the glorious Percy Sherwood CD should not be missed; likewise their Peggy Glanville-Hicks opera Sappho) and the astonishingly valorous Campion, Stone’s dedication to English song (two volumes of their CW Orr songs command attention) add immeasurably to an affluently variegated landscape.

It seems at one level a pity to have to choose but after wrestling with the decision there must be a winner. It is Martin Yates’ and Dutton’s realisation of the Moeran Second Symphony. This was premiered at Em Marshall’s English Music Festival this year and ‘deuxièmed’ at Brighton last month. Moeran has long been at the centre of my musical affections; this alongside a measure of frustration since reading a Musical Times article in 1980 about the unfeasible bundle of rags and tatters of the score held in Australia. Inevitably speculative, but done with true Moeran style and love, this work calls out for your attention. Do not be distracted or discouraged by the purists. This is deeply enjoyable and loveable music here astoundingly realised with evident integrity, well performed and convincingly recorded. It stands shoulder to shoulder with a similarly imaginative orchestration of John Ireland’s Sarnia in a year (the fiftieth since his death in 1962) that has seen a small landslide of Ireland performances across the UK.

Classical Editor, Rob Barnett





































































































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