So, another year has passed. For me, while it has brought a lot of challenging moments, it also brought me a lot of good luck. And particularly, it brought all of us some exciting new recordings.
In the tradition from 2017, 2016, and 2015, so basically each year since I started this blog, let me summarize my top 5 Classical Albums Of The Year.
Yes, partially I do this because Top Something lists always generate a lot of clicks (I don’t make any money on this site, so this is purely for my stupid little ego), but it is also a nice tradition to look back at the year.
And hopefully, it will inspire you to buy some of these (again, I’m not making any money here, but the artists do, as they should).
Igor Levit – Life
Yes, I really like Igor Levit. This may be his most personal album to date. In my original review I’ve described it as A Beautiful Treasure. An absolute must have.
Daniel Trifonov Plays Rach 2 and 4
Yes, this is one of my favorite Rach 2 ever. But PLEASE BE AWARE that I wrote in my original review (published as one of the first) that this recording will be controversial. It turned out it is, it is a love it or hate it affair. So please do check it out before you buy.
Rachel Podger’s Four Seasons
Do you really need yet another version of the Four Seasons? Probably not, let’s be realistic. That said, if you are looking for one, you won’t go wrong with this beautiful account, which combines amazing energy with beautiful recording technology. See here for my original review.
Murray Perahia’s Moonlight and Hammerklavier
Yes, I’m absolutely certain that this is an album that will stand the test of time. The only argument that you could have is whether the best piece here is the Moonlight (my opinion, see here for my review) or the Hammerklavier (many other reviewers). In any case, get this album, even if you already own these works.
Jean Rondeau Plays Scarlatti
As I wrote in my original review, I was really surprised to finally find an album that makes me like Scarlatti. Now is this enough of a reason for YOU to buy it? Will check it out, I think you won’t be disappointed.
You will find the download links in the respective original reviews.
Now back to you, what did I miss? Where do you disagree? What were your classical albums of 2018?
13 thoughts on “My Top 5 Classical Albums Of 2018”
Hi, and thank for these recommendations. Happy New Year to you and yours!
Thanks Neil, and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones as well!
Thank you for giving us a year’s worth of reviews! I appreciate you.
Good list you’ve got here. (2018 didn’t have a ton of standout releases.) My list would include Anne Akiko Meyers’ “Mirror in Mirror”. It’s the violin sibling of “Life” — dark, solitary, and stunningly beautiful across a deeply personal program. Her phrasing and tone carry so much nuance and refinement that it’s hard to believe more people aren’t talking about this one. Much like Levit’s masterpiece, the record itself becomes an original work, something greater than the sum of its parts. Highest recommendation.
My nomination for the jazz “gorgeous lonely album” of 2018: Tigran Hamasyan’s “For Gyumri”. It’s awesome.
Also, there’s no good genre slot for this, but Vesselil’s self-titled debut record is (the beginning of) something special. Worth a listen. I look forward to seeing these players mature, much like the Danish String Quartet has.
Happy New Year!
Thanks! None of the albums you list were on my radar screen so I have a lot to check out. I listened to some of Hamasayan‘s previous releases but not this one. Happy New Year to you as well!
More than two years ago I was engaged on Mozart’s operas. I listened to many recordings and I found only two websites where I could read similar reflections to mine. One of them was yours and I still think it was a good choice. For example: the last three albums from your top 5 list are in my collection. I could add some vocal recordings but they are not so outstanding and I know you don’t like those so much.
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Thanks avradi for your nice feedback and kind words. Which vocal recordings did you have in mind?
My new vocal downloads is 2018:
Victoria: Tenebrae Responsories / Stile Antico / Harmonia Mundi
Vivaldi: Nisi Dominus / Lezhneva / Decca
Rameau/Gluck: Enfers / Pichon/ Harmonia Mundi
Prologue / Aspromante / Pentatone
Hommage a Vivaldi / Genaux / Sony
Sacrum convivium / Vox Clamantis / Mirare
Le maitres du Motet / Agnew / Harmonia Mundi
des Prez: Miserere mei / Reuss / Harmonia Mundi
Mozart: Bastien & Bastienne / Page / Signum
Handel: Acis and Galatea / Early Opera / Chaconne
Monteverdi: Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria / Gardiner / SDG
Cecilia Bartoli: Antonio Vivaldi / Decca
Monteverdi: Vespro / Herreweghe / Phi
Vivaldi: Sonatas for Cello / Queyras / Harmonia Mundi
Haydn: Concerti per Esterhazy / Gli Incogniti / Harmonia Mundi
Corelli: Concerti Grossi / Freiburger Barock / Aparté
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Thanks. The only one I ended up buying from this list is Enfers which I quite like. I skipped Bartoli Lezhneva and Genaux ‘ Vivaldi albums this year (there is only so much Vivaldi I personally need) but will check our all the others. Thanks for sharing!
You are right. Enfers is a very good recording.
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I hope for more! (You know, monthly for 2019)
Thanks! Monthly may be a bit tricky as I typically only find time for 3-4 reviews every month but maybe after the first half of 2019? I like the idea.