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Best Classical Albums Of 2014

The Pulitzer Prize-winning <em>Become Ocean</em> by John Luther Adams is one of NPR Classical's favorite albums of 2014.
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean by John Luther Adams is one of NPR Classical's favorite albums of 2014.

Most years, Tom Huizenga and I spend a lot of time after Thanksgiving and well into December battling over — or, more truthfully, having many friendly but spirited discussions about — which recordings should comprise our 10 favorites of the year. We each come up with a list of 10, and then we start hammering things out in some amount of exquisite music-nerd agony. Some albums we agree upon, some are our individual picks. We revisit our final 10 selections over and over again, revising and refining until we are both satisfied with a harmonious whole.

The pace in 2014 was vastly different. This year's highlights were so above and beyond that without any discussion, we each picked seven of the same releases. Though I'm not going to divulge which ones they were, there was such a bounty of phenomenal albums released this year that the selection process was a joy.

From John Dowland's elegant, elegiac and intimate pavanes, written at the dawn of the 17th century, to John (Coolidge) Adams' Saxophone Concerto and John Luther Adams' Become Ocean, both premiered just last year, the scope of what we loved reaches far and wide. — Anastasia Tsioulcas

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Tom Huizenga
Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.
Anastasia Tsioulcas
Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.