So much for the death watch on the major classical record labels, and on the CD itself. If the New York Times classical music writers’ choices for records of the year are any indication, at least one of the traditional majors scored a significant comeback this year: Deutsche Grammophon, which claims 6 of the 25 places. Harmonia Mundi, which has become a major player in recent years despite a generally more specialized repertory, comes in second, with 4. But excellent recordings keep coming out from smaller sources as well, and they dot the list that follows. JAMES R. OESTREICH


MARTIN: ‘GOLGOTHA’ Vocal soloists; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Reuss (Harmonia Mundi HMC 902056.57; two CDs); $31.98. Though the Swiss composer Frank Martin was considered conservative in his day, this remarkable recording of “Golgotha,” his 95-minute oratorio about the Passion and death of Jesus, completed in 1948, makes Martin’s place on the modernist spectrum seem irrelevant. A bittersweet melancholy pervades this poignant, distinguished score, with its hints of Renaissance polyphony and ancient mysticism. ANTHONY TOMMASINI


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