Best Of The Year Discs for 2003

by | Jan 1, 2004 | Best of the Year | 0 comments

Classical/Jazz/Rock (incl. both Hi-Res Formats)

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This is our 19th annual Best of the Year list and as usual, we make no definitive claims for the list. It is predicated on the personal tastes of all our contributors and also on what was available to us, but with an equal emphasis on both the musical and sonic quality of each disc (except for some of the reissue material). You will notice a much larger number of SACD and DVD-A titles than last year. Many of the SACDs are available in either separate CD versions or as hybrid CD layer versions, and all SACDs are multichannel unless identifed as Stereo. All of these discs have been reviewed in AUDIOPHILE AUDITION during the past year and can be quickly located for their reviews and record numbers using our handy site search engine in the left-hand column of every page.


BACH: Goldberg Variations – András Schiff, piano – ECM New Series

BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 etc. – Murray Perahia – Sony SACD

BACH: The Four Great Toccatas & Fugues on Four Antiphonal Organs – E. Power Biggs – Sony Classical SACD

BARTOK: Violin Sonata No. 2; DOHNANYI: Violin Sonata, Op. 21. Cecilia Zilliacus, violin; Bengt-Åke Lundin, piano. Caprice

Cecilia Bartoli – The SALIERI Album – Decca

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3, Triple Concerto – Urban Svensson, violin; Mats Rondin, cello; Boris Berezovsky, cello; Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Thomas Dausgaard – Simax

BEETHOVEN: String Quartets Op. 18, Nos. 4 (C minor), 5 (A major) & 1 (F major) – Prazák Quartet – Praga Digitals

BEETHOVEN: Complete Violin Sonatas – Augustin Dumay/Maria João Pires – Deutsche Grammophon (3)

BEETHOVEN: Symphonies 1-9 – Barbara Bonney, soprano; Birgit Remmert, contralto; Kurt Streit, tenor; Thomas Hampson, baritone. City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. – EMI Classics (5 CDs):

BEETHOVEN: Sym. Nos. 5 & 7 – Vienna Philharmonic/Carlos Kleiber- DGG stereo SACD

BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonatas 21, 23, 26 – Mari Kodama, Pentatone SACD

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concertos 1 – 5 – Aimard, p./Harnoncourt – Teldec (3 CDs)

BEETHOVEN: Fidelio (comp. opera) – Sir Simon Rattle cond. – EMI Classics (2)

BIBER: Missa Salisburgensis – Reinhard Goebel & Paul McCreesh – Archiv SACD

HEINRICH IGNAZ FRANZ VON BIBER (1644-1704): Virtuoso in the Making. Ricordo – Linn

BIZET: Carmen (complete opera) – Gheorghiu/Alagna/Plasson – EMI (3)

Jussi Bjoerling Rediscovered – RCA

BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 8 in C Minor – Eugen Jochum conducts Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam – Tahra

Cantate Domino – Oscars Motet Choir – Proprius stereo SACD

Renaud Capuçon & Gauitier Capuçon – Face à Face: Music by JOHANN HALVORSEN (Passacaglia after Handel), KODALY (Duo, Op. 7), ERIC TANGUY (Sonata for violin and cello), ERWIN SCHULHOFF (Duo), and JOSEPH GHYS & ADRIEN FRANÇOIS SERVAIS (Variations brilliants sur God Save the King, Op. 38) – Virgin Classics

Boris Christoff Recital – Preiser

CHOPIN: The Four Ballads – Anita Chang, p. – AIX DVD-A

CORELLI: Violin Sonatas Op. 5 – Andrew Manze/Egarr – Harmonia mundi (2)

FRANÇOIS COUPERIN: Keyboard music, Vol. 1. Angela Hewitt, piano. – Hyperion

Songs of DEBUSSY AND MOZART: Beau soir, Clair de lune, Pierrot, Apparition, Pantomime, Fêtes galantes/1er livre, Ariettes oubliées (Debussy); Dans un bois solitaire, Oiseaux si tous les ans, Warnung, Der Zauberer, Das Veilchen, Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge, Als Luise die Briefe ihres untreuen Liebhabers verbrannte, Abendempfindung (Mozart). Julian Banse, soprano/András Schiff, piano – ECM New Series

DIAMOND: Sym. No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2 – Seattle Sym./Gerard Schwarz – Naxos

Dream of the Orient – Concerto Köln & Sarband – Archive

DVORAK: Piano Quintets in A, Op. 5 and Op. 81 – Prazák Quartet, Ivan Klánsky – Praga Digitals

Heritage & Legacy 2: ELGAR, His Forebears and Successors (ELGAR: In the South Overture. MACCUNN: The Land of the Mountain and the Flood Overture. FREDERIC AUSTIN: Symphony in E Major. BLISS: Pyanepsion) – Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Douglas Bostock – RLPO Live in association with Classico (Olufsen Records)

Kathleen Ferrier in MAHLER: Das Lied von der Erde cond. Barbirolli w/Richard Lewis – APR

HANDEL: Rinaldo – Vivica Genaux, Miah Persson, Inga Kaina, Lawrence Zazzo, James Rutherford, Christophe Dumaux, Dominique Vissé, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra conducted by René Jacobs – Harmonia Mundi (3 CDs):
Vladimir Horowitz: Legendary RCA Recordings – RCA/BMG

HANDEL: Organ Concertos Vol. I & II – Daniel Chorzempa – Pentatone SACDs (2)

HANDEL: Music for Royal Fireworks; Water Music – Perlman – Telarc SACD

HASHIMOTO: Sym. No. 1 & other works – Tokyo Metro Sym. – Naxos

Felix Hell, Organ Sensation – Reference Recordings

HUMMEL & SCHUBERT: Quintets – Trio Wanderer (Vincent Coq, piano; Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian, violin; Raphaël Pidoux, cello) with Christophe Gaugué, viola, and Stéphane Logerot (double bass) – Harmonia Mundi

Immersion – 13 Contemporary Composers create works especially for surround sound – Starkland DVD-A

Karajan conducts GRIEG and SIBELIUS Berlin Philharmonic – DGG

In Honor Rudolf Kolisch – SCHUBERT, WEBERN, SCHOENBERG, BERG, BARTOK – Music&Arts

MAHLER: Sym. No. 3; Kindertotenlieder – San Francisco Sym./Michael Tilson Thomas – SF Sym./Delos SACD (2)

MESSIAEN: From the Canyons to the Stars – Myung When Chung – DGG (2)

MOZART: Piano Concertos, Vol. 1, K. 482 and 595 – Christian Zacharias, piano and conducting the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra – MDG

MOZART: Piano Quartets KV 478 and 493 – Gaede Trio (Daniel Gaede, Thomas Selditz, Andreas Greger, Markus Schirmer, piano) – Tacet

MOZART: Requiem – Sir Charles Mackerras – Linn SACD

MUSSORGSKY: Songs and Dances of Death; Songs by Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky – Galina Vishnevskaya, soprano/Mstislav Rostropovich, piano and cond. London Philharmonic – EMI Classics
MUSSORGSKY: Boris Gudonov excerpts; WAGNER: Parsifal excerpts w/ Rossi-Lemeni – Leopold Stokowski conducts the San Francisco Symphony and NY Philharmonic – Cala

David Oistrakh Edition – Vol. 11: The Complete BEETHOVEN Violin Sonatas w/Lev Oberin – DOREMI

OFFENBACH: La Belle Hélène – Janine Linda, Andé Dran, Roger Giraud, Jacques Linsolas, Lucien Mans, Jean Mollien, Paris Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus conducted by René Leibowitz – Preiser (2)

PROKOFIEFF: Alexander Nevsky – Russian State Sym./Yablonsky – Naxos DVD-A

RAMEAU: Complete Harpsichord Works – Michel Kiener – Harmonia mundi (2)

RAVEL: Bolero, Daphnis & Chloe Suite etc. – Minnesota Orch./ Skrowaczewski – Mobile Fidelity SACD

Artur Rubinstein in London – BRAHMS, CHOPIN, BEETHOVEN, SCHUBERT – BBC Legends

Pnina Salzman, Vol. 2 – BRAHMS w/Y. Ettlinger, clarinet – DOREMI

JOLY BRAGA SANTOS: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5; Nos. 3 & 6 – Alvaro Cassuto cond. – Naxos (2 separate CDs)

SCHUBERT: Piano Sonatas D.958, 959, 960 – Murray Perahia – Sony Classical

Carl Schuricht conducts BRAHMS & R. STRAUSS – Urania

SCHUMANN: The Four Symphonies, Overture to Manfred, Violin Concerto, and Andante and Variations, WoO 10; with Five Songs by Clara Schumann – The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch – Philadelphia Orchestra label (3 CDs)

SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 7 – combined Rotterdam Philharmonic & Kirov Orch./Valery Gergiev – Philips SACD

SHOSTAKOVICH: Jazz Suites 1 & 2, The Bolt – Russian State Sym./Yablonsky – Naxos DVD-A

BEETHOVEN: Kreutzer Sonata; BARBER: Cello Sonata; TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Trio in A Minor – Oscar Shumsky /Earl Wild/Charles Curtis in Concert, Wolftrap 1979 -Ivory Classics


TELEMANN: Flute Concertos – Emmanuel Pahud, fl./Berliner Barock Solisten / Rainer Kussmaul – EMI Classics
Maggie Teyte – A Vocal Portrait – Naxos

BEETHOVEN: Missa Solemnis; Choral Fantasy Milanov; Castagna; Bjoerling; Kipnis; Dorfman, piano – NBC and NY Phil. cond. by Toscanini – Music&Arts

VERDI: Requiem; Te Deum – Milanov; Castagna; Bjoerling; Moscona; A. Toscanini cond.- Music&Arts

MICHAEL TORKE: Orchestral Works Set (reissued from Argo originals) Ecstatic Records (6 CDs)

TRABACI: Keyboard Music Book I of 1603 – Sergio Vartolo, harpsichord & organ – Naxos (3)

Valkommen Till Varen – Swedish Songs – Stockholm Academic Male Chorus – Proprius stereo SACD

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: The Early Chamber Music – The Nash Ensemble – Hyperion (2)

VERDI: Aida (complete opera) – Tebaldi; Del Monaco; Stignani; Corena; Erede cond. – Naxos

VIVALDI: The Four Seasons & TARTINI: Sonata – Anne-Sophie Mütter, v./Trondheim Soloists – DGG DVD-A

VIVALDI: La Stravaganza Op. 4 – Rachel Podger – Channel Classics SACD (2)

WAGNER: Die Walkuere: Act I and Act II–excerpts Lehmann; Melchior; Bruno Walter and the Vienna Philharmonic – Opus Kura

Walton conducts WALTON – The 1964 New Zealand Tour – Bridge

WEBER & FERDINAND RIES: Music for Clarinet and Piano – Pierre-André Taillard, clarinet; Edoardo Torbianelli, fortepiano – Harmonia Mundi

WOLCUM YULE – Celtic and British Songs and Carols – Anonymous 4 with Andrew Lawrence-King – Harmonia Mundi

The Very Best of Fritz Wunderlich – EMI Classics


Monty Alexander Trio – Impressions in Blue – Telarc Jazz

The Band – Music from Big Pink – Capitol DVD-A

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds – Capitol DVD-A

Bob Belden Band – Black Dahlia – Blue Note SACD

Blue Man Group – Audio – Virgin Records DVD-A

The Ray Brown Trio – Soular Energy – Groove Note SACD & LP

The Essential Dave Brubeck – Sony Legacy (2)

Music from the Miramax motion picture “Chicago” (Kander & Ebb) – Epic/Sony SACD

A Chorus Line – Original B’dway Cast – Sony Classical SACD

John Coltrane – Blue Train – Blue Note stereo SACD

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme – Impulse stereo SACD (& double CD)

Chick Corea – Rendezvous in New York – Stretch SACD (2)

Crosby-Nash – Another Stoney Evening – DTS DVD-A

Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan – Two of a Mind – RCA Bluebird

Duke Ellington – The Blanton-Webster Band – Never No Lament – RCA Bluebird (3)

Donald Fagan – Kamakiriad – Reprise DVD-A

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones – Little Worlds – Columbia (3 Cds)

Frida – Soundtrack music by Elliot Goldenthal & others – DG/UMG

Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band – XXL – Silverline DVD-A

Peter Gabriel: Passion – Music for the film “The Last Temptation of Christ” – Geffen stereo SACD

Sir Roland Hanna – Everything I love – IPO Recordings

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul – Mobile Fidelity stereo SACD

Hiromi, piano – Another Mind – Telarc Jazz SACD

Diana Krall – When I Look In Your Eyes – Verve SACD

Alison Krause + Union Station – Live – Rounder SACD (2)

Jason Moran – The Bandwagon – Blue Note

Geoff Muldaur’s Futuristic Ensemble – Private Astronomy – Edge Music/Universal

Aaron Neville – Nature Boy – Verve SACD

Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing Trio – Odyssey SACD

The Persuasions Sing the Beatles – Chesky SACD

Oscar Peterson – Dimensions: A Compendium of the Pablo Years – Pablo/Fantasy (4 Cds)

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon – Capitol SACD

John Pizzarelli Trio Live at Birdland – Telarc SACD (2)

Seabiscuit – Randy Newman’s Music for the film – Decca

Wayne Shorter – Alegria – Verve

Star Trek: Nemesis – Motion picture soundtrack music by Jerry
Goldsmith – Varese Sarabande SACD

Steely Dan – Everything Must Go – Reprise DVD-A

Gerald Wilson – New York, New Sound – Mack Avenue Records

The Anthony Wilson Trio – Our Gang – Groove Note stereo SACD

Yes – Fragile – Rhino DVD-A

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