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'Beethoven Piano Concertos' with Krystian Zimerman & LSO/Simon Rattle is 2022 BBC Music Magazine nominee

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BBC Music Magazine - Freya Parr writes…..In the year of BBC Music Magazine’s 30th anniversary celebrations, the nominees for the 2022 BBC Music Magazine Awards have been announced. Despite the challenges of the last year for the classical music industry, artists and labels have delivered top-class recordings.

Musicians and sound engineers have become more accustomed to the limitations of social distancing and have thrived under challenging recording conditions. Many of this year’s nominated recordings were captured under distancing restrictions or, in the case of married violin-and-piano duo Elena Urioste and Tom Poster, inspired by lockdown projects. The pair shared daily videos on their YouTube channels as part of their #UriPosteJukeBox project, creating a huge digital community and commissioning a smorgasbord of new works – many of which are heard on their new recording, nominated for this year’s Premiere Award. The Covid-19 pandemic also provided a recording opportunity for The English Concert and its director Harry Bicket, who have – our critic says – ‘gifted us the best-ever recording of Rodelinda’. Facing a cancelled concert production of the Handel opera, the ensemble decided to record in London instead with the same musicians, each two metres apart.

The blend and precision required in scores like this require incredible skill, something conductor Simon Rattle praised the London Symphony Orchestra for during its recording of Beethoven piano concertos with Krystian Zimerman, nominated in the Concerto category. ‘Sometimes it feels like blowing smoke signals over a mountain,’ he says. ‘But the effort almost suits [the music of] Beethoven. Struggle is part of the style. He is a composer who demands that everyone is straining every sinew, and who always asks more than you can give.’ The LSO appear twice in this year’s list of nominees: once under Rattle and again under their music director designate Antonio Pappano, who is due to take over from Rattle next year.

As well as the more familiar composers, this year’s list of nominations features several works by composers whose music rarely receive such outings. These range from Dutilleux and Price to Busoni and Coleridge-Taylor, whose music is celebrated in soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn’s debut recital disc. His best-known work The Song of Hiawatha has overshadowed the 80 opus numbers he had to his credit when he died in 1912, much of which remains unrecorded – until now. Dussek might have been a celebrated musical figure during the Classical era, but he has become unjustly neglected over the centuries. This is the first time his Messe Solemnelle has been captured on disc, performed by the Academy of Ancient Music for the first time since its composition over 200 years ago. The ensemble’s recording has been nominated for the Choral Award.

This year’s jury was chaired by BBC Music Magazine reviews editor Michael Beek, who was joined by critics Andrew McGregor, Berta Joncus, George Hall and Rebecca Franks. Together, they whittled down a longlist of 312 recordings to the final list of 27 nominees – with 17 record labels represented in the shortlist.

Voting closes at midnight on Monday 28 February. The 2022 BBC Music Magazine Awards nominees includes; For Concerto Award

Beethoven: Piano Concertos - Krystian Zimerman (piano); London Symphony Orchestra/Simon Rattle - Deutsche Grammophon 483 9971

Krystian Zimerman joined forces with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra last December in Beethoven's five piano concertos. Their spellbinding performances, streamed on DG Stage from LSO St Luke's and recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon, harvested a bumper crop of critical superlatives. Here was "history in the making", wrote The Times in its five-star review, while Bachtrack noted, "Purity and clarity are hallmarks of Zimerman's playing and there was an almost aristocratic composure to his phrasing and a velvet touch … Everything was meticulous, not … a quaver out of place."

The winners of this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Kings Place on Thursday 28 April. As well as the publicly voted categories, the magazine’s editorial team will announce the winners of its BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year and Recording of the Year.

Vote now in this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards at classical-music.com/awards.

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