We already shared our editors' favorite classical instrumental recordings of the year, and now it's time to delve into the world of classical music with vocal accompaniment, including a celebratory take on the works of Guillaume Dufay, an exploration of Handel's lesser-known arias, and a study of the minimalist compositions of Andrew Hamilton.

Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen

Bach Magnificats: Johann Sebastian, Johann Christian, Carl Philipp Emanuel

This release presents Magnificats by Johann Sebastian Bach and two of his sons, Johann Christian Bach and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.

Benjamin Appl / Graham Johnson

The Songs of Brahms, Vol. 7

An impressive deep dive into Brahms' songs, featuring a rising baritone who studied with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Benjamin Bagby / Hanna Marti / Norbert Rodenkirchen / Sequentia

Boethius: Songs of Consolation - Metra from 11th-century Canterbury

New scholarship has allowed the reconstruction of these fascinating 11th-century settings of texts by Boethius.

Binchois Consort / Andrew Kirkman

The Lily & the Rose

Andrew Kirkman and the Binchois Consort present music for Marian devotions, corresponding to carved alabaster figures from the 15th century.

Brabant Ensemble / Stephen Rice

Antoine de Févin: Missa Ave Maria & Salve sancta parens

A contemporary of Josquin, Antoine de Févin receives a long-delayed appraisal by the Brabant Ensemble on this Hyperion release.

Canterbury Cathedral Choir / David Newsholme

Great Cathedral Anthems

The novelty of this album of English anthems is due to the presence of the new Canterbury Cathedral Girls' Choir.

Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss

Josquin des Prez: Miserere mei Deus - Sacred Motets

Daniel Reuss leads Cappella Amsterdam in a moving collection of funeral motets and lamentations by the Franco-Flemish master Josquin des Prez.

Cappella Mediterranea / Chœur de Chambre de Namur / Doulce Mémoire

Jacques Arcadelt: Motetti; Madrigali; Chansons

The influential vocal and choral music of Franco-Flemish composer Jacques Arcadelt is presented on three discs in this 2018 box set from Ricercar.

Carolyn Sampson / Joseph Middleton

A Soprano's Schubertiade

Superb interpretations of Schubert, technically flawless, intimate, and deeply felt.

Choir of St. Mary's Cathedral / Duncan Ferguson

William Mundy: Sacred Choral Music

Exultant performances of music of 16th-century composer William Mundy by a Scottish choir.

Choir of the Queen's College, Oxford / Owen Rees

The House of the Mind

An elegant program centered on the music of Herbert Howells, confidently performed by musicians deeply familiar with his tradition.

Christopher Purves

Handel's Finest Arias for Base Voice, Vol.2

Satisfying, text-sensitive performances of little-known Handel bass arias.

Clare College Choir, Cambridge / Graham Ross

O Lux Beata Trinitas

Graham Ross leads the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge in a program of Russian and English works on the subject of the Trinity.

Clarion Choir / Steven Fox

Alexander Kastalsky: Memory Eternal

World premiere recordings of unique Russian choral music in memory of the World War I dead.

Collegium Vocale / Philippe Herreweghe

Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine [2017 Recording]

This 2017 performance of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers by Collegium Vocale Gent marked the 450th anniversary of the composer's birth.

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir / Kaspars Putniņš

Schnittke: Psalms of Repentance; Pärt: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis

Kaspars Putnins and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir are intense and sensuous in works by Schnittke and Pärt.

Eugene Asti / Stéphane Degout / Sophie Karthäuser / Alain Planès

Claude Debussy: Harmonie du Soir - Mélodies

A generous range of Debussy songs, oriented toward his relationship with poetry, and beautifully performed.

Francesca Aspromonte


On Prologue, soprano Francesca Aspromonte presents opening scenes from early Baroque operas that provide an emotional connection to the drama.

Gabrieli Consort / Paul McCreesh

A Rose Magnificat

A lovely a cappella recording that effectively ties together early Renaissance and modern compositions on Marian themes.

Gothic Voices

The Dufay Spectacle

Gothic Voices presents Guillaume Dufay's music as it might have been performed at a Burgundian wedding celebration.

György Vashegyi / Chantal Santon Jeffery / Reinoud Van Mechelen / Orfeo Orchestra / Purcell Choir / Florian Sempey

Jean-Philippe Rameau: Naïs

Rameau's pastorale-héroique Naïs is vividly re-created on period intruments by György Vasheygi and the Orfeo Orchestra on this 2018 Glossa release.

Hervé Niquet / Le Concert Spirituel Orchestra

Benevolo: Missa Si Deus pro nobis; Magnificat

Hervé Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel revive the music of Baroque composer Orazio Benevolo with this disc of polychoral sacred works.

Iain Burnside / Nikolaj Didenko / Justina Gringyte / Rodion Pogossov / Ekaterina Siurina

Medtner: Songs

Solid performances of virtually unknown repertory, following a procedure laid down by the composer himself.

John Adams / Julia Bullock / Gerald Finley / BBC Singers / BBC Symphony Orchestra

John Adams: Doctor Atomic

Conducted by the composer, this is a definitive version of Adams' opera about A-bomb developer Robert Oppenheimer.

Juan Diego Flórez

Bésame Mucho

More than a quickie crossover album by the star Peruvian tenor: a rethinking of his voice for popular song.

Jörg-Andreas Bötticher / Abendmusiken Basel

In Convertendo

The Düben Collection consists of manuscripts and published works of the 17th century, which are given lively performances by Abendmusiken Basel.

Lucile Richardot / Sébastien Daucé / Ensemble Correspondances

Perpetual Night

French musicians bring the 17th-century English song to life.

Ludovic Morlot / Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Berlioz: Requiem

Ludovic Morlot delivers an impressive performance of Hector Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Chorale.

Masaaki Suzuki / Bach Collegium Japan

Beethoven: Missa solemnis

Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan deliver a revelatory performance of Beethoven's late masterpiece, the Missa Solemnis, Op. 123.

Michael Christie / Kelly Markgraf / Edward Parks

Mason Bates: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

A colorful biographical opera about Apple founder Steve Jobs, superbly performed and recorded.

New College Choir, Oxford / Robert Quinney

Parry: Songs of Farewell and Other Choral Works

Robert Quinney and the Choir of New College, Oxford, present Parry's introspective Songs of Farewell with Mendelssohn's influential Sechs Sprüche.

Olivier Charlier / Jean-Christophe Gayot

Igor Stravinsky: L'Histoire du Soldat [CD & Book]

Stravinsky's L'Histoire du soldat receives a straightforward reading in French in this 2018 release from Harmonia Mundi.

Orlando Consort

Machaut: Fortune's Child

The fifth volume in the Orlando Consort's series of Machaut's vocal music presents songs on the topic of fortune.

Orlando Consort

Machaut: The Gentle Physician

The Orlando Consort continues its survey of the vocal music of Guillaume de Machaut with this sixth volume on Hyperion.

Philip Dukes / James Gilchrist / Anna Tilbrook

Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel - Songs and Chamber Works

All the music comes from the first part of Vaughan Williams' career and hangs together beautifully.

Roderick Williams / Christopher Glynn

Schubert: Winter Journey

Roderick Williams' English-language performance of Schubert's Winterreise swaps out familiar associations for a challenging listening experience.

St. John's College Choir, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha

Vaughan Williams: Mass in G minor

Public and reflective sides of Vaughan Williams' sacred music, neatly summarized.

The Gesualdo Six / Owain Park

English Motets

The Gesualdo Six present a program of English motets from the 16th and 17th centuries, with works by Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, and others.

The Sixteen / Harry Christophers

Claudio Monteverdi: Messa a quattro voci et Salmi of 1650, Vol .2

Sharp, exciting performances of neglected music from late in Claudio Monteverdi's career.

Various Artists

Andrew Hamilton: Music for People

Gripping works in a minimalist style of a whole new kind.

Various Artists

Ingrid Stölzel: The Gorgeous Nothings

A fine exploration of the unique idiom of this German-born Midwestern American composer, especially effective in song.

Vox Luminis / Lionel Meunier / Ensemble Masques / Olivier Fortin

Buxtehude: Abendmusiken

This release by a pair of French ensembles sets a new standard for Buxtehude's chamber, vocal, and instrumental music.

Yale Schola Cantorum / David Hill

Palestrina: Missa Confitebor tibi Domine

A Palestrina mass that calls into question the composer's reputation as a conservative, beautifully performed.

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Masaaki Suzuki