The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Here are the best classical music CDs of 2015, according to the BBC Music Magazine and the Telegraph newspaper. | November 27, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is Black Friday –- the much-touted big shopping day after Thanksgiving.

(FYI: It’s Black Friday not because it is bad, but because it is so good that it puts many businesses from the red into the profit-making black for the year.)

And all indications are that this year a record-setting amount of the shopping will be conducted online.

Between now and the holidays, The Ear will direct you to various lists of the Best Classical Recordings of 2015.

NY Times top 20 classical CDs 2013 Tony Cenicola for NYT

Today, he offers two such guides and gift suggestions, and future guides will include picks by the forthcoming Grammy nominations and The New York Times critics.

The first of today’s two gift guides is the well-regarded BBC Music Magazine (below) and its list of awards for 2015:

It features Record of the Year plus eight other categories that you can click on. The categories include: Orchestral, Concerto, Opera, Choral, Vocal, Chamber, Instrumental and Jury Awards.

Of course, make allowances of course for cultural and geographic bias. So you may find more British or UK artists or labels than you might think.

BBC Music Magazine

The second is the Telegraph newspaper and website in England and the United Kingdom:

Don’t forget to leave your own suggestions in the COMMENTS section. Some pretty knowledgeable and sophisticated listeners follow The Ear.

So … The Ear wants to hear.


  1. […] Fellow blogger Jacob Stockinger at his great site The Well Tempered Ear has published some posts on the recent suite of Album of the Year articles by the NY Times, the BBC Music, and the Telegraph. […]


    Pingback by My Top 5 Classical Albums of 2015 | musicophilesblog – From Keith Jarrett to Johannes Brahms — November 29, 2015 @ 5:13 am

  2. Here are 20 recommendations, in no particular order, for albums for 2015 except for 2 best recordings, one overall, one for best American music and some notes:

    1) Alina Ibragimova, violin, JS Bach Violin Concertos (Hyperion);
    2) The Tallis Scholars, John Taverner: Missa Corona Spinea;
    3) RIAS Kammerchor & Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs, Cond.; Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K384 (Harmonia Mundi)(anything done by Jacobs is outstanding);
    4) Steven Hough, piano, “Broken Branches” (Hyperion)(Hough is not only a superb pianist, but an outstanding composer);
    5) The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Fabio Luisi, Adrian Noble (dir.); Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth; Verdi: Macbeth (DG) (probably the album of the year) (A. Netrebko is in a class of her own);
    6) Hallé, Hallé Choir, Hallé Youth Choir, Schola Cantorum of Oxford, Ad Solem, Sir Mark Elder, Vaughan Williams, A Sea Symphony;
    7) Andreas Staier (harpsichord), Freiburger Barockorchester, Bach, J S: Keyboard Concertos Nos. 1-7 BWV1052-1058 (Harmonia Mundi);
    8) Daniil Trifonov, Piano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Cond., The Philadelphia Orchestra, Rachmaninov Variations (DG);
    9) Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons, Cond.; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Op. 93 (DG);
    10) Steven Isserlis (cello) & Stephen Hough (piano); Mendelssohn, Grieg & Hough: Cello Sonatas (Hyperion);
    11) Steven Hough, Piano, Grieg: Lyric Pieces, (Hyperion);
    12) Orchestre et Choeur de l’Opéra National de Paris, Philippe Jordan, Cond.; Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé & La Valse (Erato);
    13) András Schiff (fortepiano), Schubert: Sonatas, Impromptus & Moments Musicaux (ECM);
    14) English Chamber Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber,
    And the Bridge is Love: English Music for Strings (Naxos);
    15) The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, Arvo Pärt:
    Seven Magnificat Antiphons (Gimell);
    16) Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons Cond., Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 (BSO classics)(Nelsons shows why he was a great catch at the BSO);
    17) Yevgeny Sudbin (piano), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Litton; Scriabin & Medtner: Piano Concertos;
    18) Alan Gilbert, Cond., The New York Philharmonic, Nielsen: Concertos (Dacapo);
    19) Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra; Absolute Jest (just about anything MTT records is worth its weight in gold);
    20) Eastern Music Festival Orchestra
    Gerard Schwarz, Cond., Alan Hovhaness: Prelude and Quadruple Fugue Op.128,
    Concerto for Soprano Saxophone Op.344
    Symphony No. 48 ‘Vision of Andromeda’ Op.355 (Naxos) (Best album for American music; splendid music by Hovhaness and great conducting, yet again, by Maestro Schwarz)


    Comment by fflambeau — November 27, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

  3. Unless I missed it, I’m amazed that Steven Hough, the brilliant pianist, is not on either list. I believe he released a couple of new albums in 2015 including one of his own compositions, “Broken Branches.”

    Maybe it’s because he’s a Brit who took out Australian citizenship in 2005?

    I would recommend this album and all of his others as well.


    Comment by fflambeau — November 27, 2015 @ 7:43 pm

  4. I was surprised at how international the BBC awards are this year; only provincial in the “choral” section (Brits think only they can sing and pronounce English correctly). ALL the nominees in that category were British. Other than that, it was pretty fair.


    Comment by fflambeau — November 27, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

    • Not surprisingly, The Telegraph’s recommendations are far more local and provincial. NOT RECOMMENDED.


      Comment by fflambeau — November 27, 2015 @ 7:34 pm

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