© Gregor Hohenberg / Sony Music
But increasingly as I look at the shortlists for these awards I start to wonder how relevant they are to the modern recording industry. The Awards were founded in 1977, a period when there was a small number of large classical recording companies with a good roster of well known stars. Each company would produce their annual star recordings and these would, generally, compete for the awards. It was comparing like with like. Nowadays how on earth do you compare? There are few tenors in the world today to compare to Jonas Kaufmann. And you can't even listen to his recordings blind, because his voice is so distinctive. The structure of the seems to reflect our old way of thinking about classical recording production.
You have to start thinking: What is best? What makes a recording stand out? Does a super budget with imagination stand a chance? How can the awards reflect the real imagination and diversity of the records available to the public.
If you are interested in reading more of the background to this year's awards, then the original Gramphone reviews have been put together in an on-line edition.