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Top 10 for Feb

New Zealand Herald picks top 10 classical albums of the year

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Every year around this time New Zealand Herald, classics reviewer - William Dart selects his top 10 CDs of the year. It's a timely guide for anyone searching for a gift. Included in this year's picks are;

Veni Domine (Deutsche Grammophon) - The Sistine Chapel Choir, under Massimo Palombella, celebrates Christmas with a Renaissance serenity, recorded under Michelangelo's lofty visions of Heaven. The usually flamboyant mezzo Cecilia Bartoli joins in for just one offering, a 13th century piece of Gothic chill-out, inevitably imbued with a warm Italianate glow.

Bach Trios (Nonesuch) - Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile bring their cello, bass and mandolin combo to the cool counterpoint of the great Bach. Not surprisingly, there are nods to both jazz and bluegrass, but the trio's crisscrossing tune trails do ample justice to the German composer's cool, linear beauties.

Bach, Goldberg Variations (Deutsche Grammophon) - Mahan Esfahani's brilliant take on Bach's mammoth set of variations carried off some big prizes in 2016 but we waited until this year for a local release, occasioned by the harpsichordist's appearance with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. This 70-minute masterpiece may have been written as a cure for insomnia but there's no nodding off with Esfahani's meld of exquisite musicianship and playful chutzpah.

SEE ALL New Zealand Herald PICKS