The winners of 16th Annual BBC Music Magazine Awards were announced, with the Tallis Scholars winning both Recording of the Year and the Choir Award. The vocal group’s recording of Josquin’s Masses is the ninth and final album in their acclaimed Josquin series, the first of which was released 34 years ago in 1987. This award-winning recording completes what is the longest-running project of this guy in the history of recorded music. Peter Phillips conducted the Tallis Scholars in every recording, with production by Steve Smith for Gimell Records – one of classical music’s longest-running creative collaborations.
“To end a great project – which spanned 34 years – with two recordings in the year is as heartening as it gets,” says Peter Phillips, Founder and Director of The Tallis Scholars. “During this time, like traditional artisans, we honed our skills, creating some of the greatest musical experiences ever written at home.”
BBC Music MagazineOliver Condy’s editor adds: “The Tallis Scholars’ Josquin series is a heroic achievement, this last episode is one of great beauty. And to award this prize on the occasion of Josquin’s 500th birthday is very special.
The cover star of BBC Music MagazineThe May issue of – on sale tomorrow – is Egyptian soprano Fatma Said, who won the Newcomer Award and Vocal Award for her debut album El Nour on Warner Classics. This cross-border recital program of French, Spanish and Arabic works has been described as “elegantly seductive” by the BBC Music Magazine reviews, taking listeners on a journey through the works of Ravel, Berlioz and Falla to lesser-known composers such as Obradors, Serrano and Gaubert.
This year, BBC Music Magazine’s Personality of the Year is violinist Nicola Benedetti, which, since the creation of the Benedetti Foundation in early 2020, has continued to support many young musicians with online courses and videos. During the pandemic, Benedetti’s Virtual Sessions delivered three weeks of online lessons to players of all ages and skill levels, posted over 300 videos, streamed 64 live Zoom sections to approximately 1,900 musicians per week in 66 countries and gave 30 live sessions.
This year the Orchestral Prize is awarded to the Sinfonia of London and its conductor John Wilson for the second consecutive year, after they won last year for their recording of works by Korngold, also released on the Chandos label. This year, however, they were rewarded for their recording of Respighi’s Roman Trilogy: The Pines, Fountains and Feasts of Rome.
The Instrumental Prize went to pianist Steven Osborne for his beautiful and nuanced interpretations of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonatas Nos. 6, 7 and 8, while the Concerto Prize went to Antje Weithaas and cellist Maximilian Hornung for their interpretations of the Concerto for violin by Schumann and the Double Concerto by Brahms. .
Violinist Tasmin Little, who received the BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year 2020, won this year’s Chamber Award with pianist Piers Lane. Their album ‘British Violin Sonatas Vol. 3’ was Little’s last recording for Chandos before his retirement, a fitting end to his glorious career.
The Opera Award goes to a rarely performed interpretation of Malcolm Arnold The dancing masterfeaturing a stellar cast of singers and the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by John Andrews.
In addition to publicly voted categories, BBC Music Magazine jury awarded two other jury prizes. First prize is awarded to the beautifully performed album of works by Tavener by cellist Steven Isserlis, Cry me no more. Isserlis is joined by the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Trinity Boys Choir on this recording for Hyperion. The DVD Award went to the staging of Wagner by Keith Warner Die Walküre from the Royal Opera House, with Antonio Pappano at the helm and a cast of Stuart Skelton, Emily Magee, Nina Stemma, John Lundgren and Sarah Connolly.
“This past year has been incredibly difficult for everyone,” says BBC Music Magazine editor Oliver Condy, “so it’s wonderful to see that the standard of recordings remains incredibly high across the board”.
Click here for the full list of winners of the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2021.