NPR Classical's 10 Favorite Albums Of 2013

Leonidas Kavakos

By Anastasia Tsioulcas and Tom Huizenga

The year may have suffered a couple of black eyes in the form of shuttered opera companies and orchestras in labor disputes, but as far as recordings go, don't let anyone tell you classical music is dying — the music and musicians are thriving.

2013 revealed a rich trove of talent. There were promising debuts from young composers like Caleb Burhans, fascinating cross-pollinations between indie rock and classical musicians in David Lang's Schubert-inspired song cycle and extraordinary vocal delights from the superb singer Christian Gerhaher and the resplendent Latvian Radio Choir.

This list of classical albums we loved in 2013, while diverse, represents only a small sampling of the dozens of compelling releases we were forced to shave off to get down to a Top 10. If you're favorites aren't here, tell us all about them: on , on Twitter (@nprclassical) or in the comments section here.

  • Artist: Leonidas Kavakos
  • Album: Beethoven: Violin Sonatas
  • Song: Violin Sonata No. 3 - Allegro con spirito

A violinist's violinist, the Greek artist Leonidas Kavakos eschewed his a long time ago. In the interim, he's focused on making beautiful music, gorgeously played (and, occasionally, conducted as well). Here he proves that his single-minded devotion to interpretation has paid off in spades. His three-disc set of the complete violin sonatas is astonishing. With the elegant pianist Enrico Pace, Kavakos creates lines that are taut and muscular, while his tone positively glows. — AT