Albums of the year: Classical

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The Independent Culture

Chamber music triumphed over grand projects in 2010, with the notable exception of Sir Mark Elder's luminous Götterdämmerung with the Hallé.

Those who carved the loneliest path included Ruth Palmer's Hidden Acoustics, while Rousset's recital of Froberger breathed vivacity into dusty scores. Lutenist Nigel North's The Heart Trembles with Pleasure revisited Sylvius Weiss's blithe early works, while Alexei Lubimov pitched muscular pianism against the delicate fortepianos of Müller and Schantz in his peerless recording of Schubert's Impromptus, my disc of the year. Small was beautiful in the symphonic repertoire, too, with a fleet performance of Beethoven's Ninth from Emanuel Krivine, La Chambre Philharmonique and Les Eléments and an intimate reading of Mahler's Fourth from the late Sir Charles Mackerras and the Philharmonia.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Jurowksi and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Ivá* Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra dazzled and blazed with Brahms and Dvorák.

The City of London Sinfonia's disc of Geoffrey Burgon's Merciless Beauty was released just a few months before Burgon's death – a fine tribute to an under-appreciated craftsman.