Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik

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The Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik ("German Record Critics' Award") is an annual prize presented for achievement in recorded music.

It was inaugurated in Germany in 1963 by publisher Richard Kaselowsky with the aim of setting the "most rigorous standards for supreme achievement" in the field of recording. In 1980, the entire jury separated from the award's previous organizational form and became independent. In 1988, they registered as a charitable organization, "Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik e.V."

A core value of the prize is its strict policy to keep its decisions unswayed by commercial interests. Its currently ca. 145 jury members are not allowed to judge a production they were involved in. The jury consists of music critics, writers, musicologists and editors from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, who are not paid to make their selections for the Critic's Award.

The Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik is open to all CDs and DVDs, regardless of the record company's size or country.

As of current, there are 29 categories, each served by jury members competent in the respective field:

  1. Symphonic and Orchestral Music
  2. Concertos
  3. Chamber Music
  4. Piano Music
  5. Harpsichord and Organ Music
  6. Opera I (CD, DVD, up to 1800)
  7. Opera II (CD, DVD, Beethoven and later)
  8. Choral (with and without orchestra)
  9. Baroque and Pre-Baroque Music
  10. Lieder and Vocal Recital
  11. Historical Recordings
  12. Contemporary Classical Music
  13. Film Music
  14. Spoken Word and Cabaret
  15. Pop and Rock
  16. Independent
  17. Nu and Extreme
  18. Chansons and Songs
  19. Folk and Folklore
  20. Traditional Ethnic Music
  21. World Music
  22. Jazz (traditional)
  23. Jazz (Swing / modern)
  24. Blues and Blues-related
  25. Black Music
  26. Recordings for Children and Youth (CD/ DVD)
  27. DVD Productions (Opera & Ballet / Classical Music / Non-Classical)
  28. DVD Jazz (concerts, documentaries)
  29. Crossover Productions

The award is presented in two levels:

A. The 'Bestenliste' ("Quarterly Critics' Choice"): it contains "new releases of outstanding importance". Criteria for evaluation are interpretation, artistic quality, repertoire value, presentation, and sound quality; only one release per category is selected. The Bestenliste is published every three months, all CDs and DVDs released within three months prior to the jury's decision are eligible for selection, if they are obtainable via music stores (thus, download-only albums or pre-/demo releases are not regarded).

B. 'Jahrespreise' ("Annual Awards"), which are presented to a maximum number of 14 outstanding productions of the precedent year, and up to three 'Ehrenpreise' ("Certificates of Special Merit") for lifetime achievement in the field of recording. Ehrenpreise are awarded not only to musicians, but to producers, too.

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