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The best music of 2012: Classical


From the slow heartbeat of Richard Tunnicliffe's Bach Cello Suites, to the quicksilver figures of Carole Cerasi's Scarlatti Sonatas, this was a great year for imagination and invention.

Fortepianist Andreas Staier prefaced his account of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations with a selection of less well-known variations by Czerny, Moscheles, Liszt and others. Sandrine Piau joined Anne Sofie von Otter in the seductive and scatalogical Sogno Barocco. The Gabrieli Consort revisited San Marco with a new version of A Venetian Coronation and delivered a spine-chilling reading of Mendelssohn's Elijah. Heiner Goebbels' installation Stifters Dinge adapted seamlessly to disc.

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker navigated the cloudburst of the four-movement version of Bruckner's Ninth, while Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra dazzled in Mahler's First.

Philippe Herreweghe, Ann Hallenberg and the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées bathed Brahms' Alto Rhapsody in light, while the Belcea Quartet explored early, middle and late-period Beethoven in The Complete String Quartets.

Disc of the year? Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber's Ferne Geliebte: a boldly conceived programme of lieder by Haydn, Beethoven, Schoenberg and Berg.