Best of 2013

2013, Linn's fortieth anniversary year, has been full of fantastic new recordings.

As well as our special 'Linn 40th Anniversary Collection', highlights have included two spectacular recordings from Dunedin Consort - Six Brandenburg Concertos and John Passion - the final studio album from the late Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and Claire Martin, the chart-topping 'Dear River' from Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo and a mesmerising recording of world-premiere arrangements by Kuniko.

As usual, picking a 'best of' list when there are so many amazing albums to choose from is a really tough ask. Finally, we have settled on the following five as our pick of 2013's releases:

 

Emily Barker1 Emily Barker - Dear River

Full of contrasting dynamics and a broad cavalcade of emotions 'Dear River', the much-anticipated fourth studio album from Bafta and Ivor Novello award-winning Emily Barker, is a fascinating exploration of self, place and people. With producer Calum Malcolm (The Blue Nile) at the helm and the lush harmonies of her band The Red Clay Halo, the result is a beautiful, sensitive, provocative and at times surprising album.

'Ambitious and beautifully wrought, Dear River should mark Barker's entry into the big leagues.' 5 stars Q

 

Dunedin Consort Dunedin Consort - J.S.Bach: John Passion 

Nominated for a Gramophone Award, as well as being named 'Recording of the Month' by BBC Music, Gramophone and MusicWeb International, John Passion sees Bach specialist John Butt recreate a performance that never actually took place.

'Butt's contextualising demands to be heard: it's nothing short of a revelation.' 5 stars BBC Music

 

Kuniko3 Kuniko - Cantus 

Kuniko's eagerly awaited second album includes spellbinding world premiere recordings of the percussionist's new arrangements of popular works by contemporary composers Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich and Hywel Davies.

'Listening to these marimba rhythms is just right for a hot day, in fact it's as refreshing as standing inside Niagara.' 4 stars The Times

 

Amy Duncan4 Amy Duncan - Cycles of Life 

Amy Duncan's new album is a powerfully motivating work of art, given force by her strength of character which shines through in each track. With a stunning combination of captivating melodies and masterful storytelling, ‘Cycles of Life' has all the makings of a true classic.

'... the sheer range and power of Duncan's vocal apparatus are breathtaking. Duncan's voice evolves through her songs literally before your ears.' Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

 

Robin Ticciati5 Robin Ticciati - Berlioz: Les nuits d'ete 

Robin Ticciati cements his reputation as an outstanding Berliozian with his latest recording with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.  Ticciati coaxes immense expressiveness and subtle turns of phrase from the orchestra and prize-winning mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, with a familiarity and effortlessness that is thoroughly irresistible.

'...a performance of extraordinary musical delicacy, poetic sensitivity and emotional range...simply divine.' 5 Stars The Independent