Classical Best Versions

What Is The Very Best Version?

In a catalogue that lists over 200 recordings of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons", and even 60 versions of Orff's "Carmina Burana", which is the very best?

With the help of Gramophone, Penguin Stereo Guide, BBC Music, and our own ears, we have put together the definitive guide to the popular classics.

There follows 200 recommended recordings that should find a place in everyone's collection.

Displaying items 1 to 20 of 260

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The Symphonies (complete) cover
add to cart $105.00 In Stock
W.A. MOZART
The Symphonies (complete)
The Academy of Ancient Music / Jaap Schrader / Christopher Hogwood
[ Decca Collector's Edition / 19 CD - released 1/Mar/2006 ]
At budget price, this is history in sound." (Amazon.com)
String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $18.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
ENESCU
String Quartets Nos 1 & 2
Ad Libitum Quartet
[ Naxos / CD - released 1/May/2001 ]
2001 GRAMOPHONE AWARD FINALIST - Chamber
Gymnopedies and other piano works cover
add to cart $17.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
SATIE
Gymnopedies and other piano works
Aldo Ciccolini (piano)
[ Warner Classics Original Jacket Reissues / CD - released 20/Apr/2015 ]
"No more committed or convincing champion of this music could be found than Ciccolini, who equally well conveys, for example, the tenderness of the fifth Gnossienne, the pre-Poulenc pert humour and charm of the Morceaux en forme de poire and the...
Iberia, Navarra / Goyescas cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
ALBENIZ / GRANADOS
Iberia, Navarra / Goyescas
Alicia de Larrocha (piano)
[ Double Decca / 2 CD - released 11/Sep/2001 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1901-1950) - "Alicia de larrocha plays with full-blooded temperament and fire. The recording is excellent and the Decca reissue makes a formidable bargain" ROSETTE - Penguin Stereo Guide
El Amor Brujo / Noches en los Jardines de Espana / Harpsichord Concerto / La Vida Breve (Excerpts) / El sombrero de tres picos cover
add to cart $25.00 In Stock
DE FALLA
El Amor Brujo / Noches en los Jardines de Espana / Harpsichord Concerto / La Vida Breve (Excerpts) / El sombrero de tres picos
Alicia de Larrocha (piano) / London Philharmonic Orchestra / Rafael Frubeck de Burgos; L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande / Ernest Anserment / etc
[ Double Decca / 2 CD - released 23/Oct/2004 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1901-1950) - "All the most famous de Falla works are here in this two-for-the-price-of-one collection of reissues." -MusicWeb Oct 2002
Mozart: Violin Sonatas Vol 1 cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
W. A. MOZART
Mozart: Violin Sonatas Vol 1
Alina Ibragimova (violin), Cédric Tiberghien (piano)
[ Hyperion / 2 CD - released 1/Apr/2016 ]
"It is difficult to imagine [these sonatas] better played" (Five Stars BBC Music)
Works of Igor Stavinsky: A re-issue of the legendary 22 CD Sony Complete Edition The Recorded Legacy cover
add to cart $145.00 In Stock
STRAVINSKY
Works of Igor Stavinsky: A re-issue of the legendary 22 CD Sony Complete Edition The Recorded Legacy
All conducted by Igor Stravinsky
[ Sony / 22 CD Box Set - released 1/Aug/2007 ]
1001 Classical Recordings you must hear before you die (1951-present for Rake's Progress) - "...in terms of archival importance, [Stravinsky's] discography, especially the Columbia recordings now reissued on Sony Classical, is the greatest landmark...
Partitas BWV825-BWV830 cover
add to cart $63.00 In Stock
J.S. BACH
Partitas BWV825-BWV830
Andras Schiff (piano)
[ ECM Records / 2 CD - released 1/Apr/2009 ]
MARBECKS STAFF PICK: CD OF THE YEAR 2009 MUSICWEB UK RECORDING OF THE MONTH MARBECKS STAFF PICK OF THE YEAR 2009 "Schiff's…unashamedly and masterfully pianistic, contrasting sustained tone and light staccato teasing out fragmentary motifs." BBC...
Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier Books 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $72.00 In Stock
J. S. BACH
Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier Books 1 & 2
Andras Schiff (piano)
[ ECM New Series / 4 CD Box Set - released 20/Sep/2012 ]
GRAMOPHONE AWARD FINALIST 2013: Instrumental
Messiah (Complete oratorio) cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
HANDEL
Messiah (Complete oratorio)
Andreas Scholl / Barbara Schlick / Sandrine Piau / Mark Padmore / Nathan Berg / Les Arts Florissants / William Christie
[ Harmonia Mundi / 2 CD - released 1/Jun/2013 ]
"...an exhilarating account of the score under the American-in-Paris, Christie, who makes you hear the work afresh..." - The Illustrated London News
Stabat Mater / Salve Regina in F Minor / Salve Regina in A Minor cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
PERGOLESI
Stabat Mater / Salve Regina in F Minor / Salve Regina in A Minor
Andreas Scholl (counter-tenor) / Barbara Bonney (soprano) / Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset
[ Decca Records / CD - released 8/Dec/2003 ]
Here are two of the world's finest singers performing one of the most exquisite vocal duets ever written.
Biber: Sonates du Rosaire [Rosary Sonatas] cover
add to cart $32.00 In Stock
HEINRICH IGNAZ FRANZ von BIBER
Biber: Sonates du Rosaire [Rosary Sonatas]
Andrew Manze (violin), Richard Egarr (organ)
[ Harmonia Mundi Gold / 2 CD - released 17/Jun/2016 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (pre 1700) - "Andrew Manze offers stylish and unfussy readings that mix reverence and whimsy in equal parts." New York Times: The Best Classical CD's of 2004
Goldberg Variations cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
J.S. BACH
Goldberg Variations
Andras Schiff (piano)
[ ECM Records / CD - released 5/Oct/2003 ]
""Great" is not a word to be used casually when it comes to CDs, but no other term does justice. Lucidity, elegance and strength are all here and exquisitely balanced. The definitive Goldberg? As far as I'm concerned, yes." Ann Picard, Independent...
Pelleas et Melisande (1902) (Complete Opera) cover
add to cart $49.50 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
Cello Concertos, Symphonies cover
add to cart $27.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
C.P.E. BACH
Cello Concertos, Symphonies
Anner Bylsma-Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / Gustav Leonhardt
[ Virgin Veritas / 2 CD - released 5/Jul/2000 ]
Highly rated recordings now at a special price!
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto / Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1 cover
add to cart $15.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
MENDELSSOHN / BRUCH
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto / Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1
Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) / Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan
[ Deutsche Grammophon The Originals / CD - released 1/Apr/2002 ]
"Anne-Sophie Mutter's approach communicates vividly to the listener, creating the feeling of hearing the work anew" Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)
Clarinet Concerto in A major, K622 / Oboe Concerto In C major, K314 cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
W.A. MOZART
Clarinet Concerto in A major, K622 / Oboe Concerto In C major, K314
Anthony Pay (clarinet) Michel Piguet (oboe) / The Academy of Ancient Music / Christopher Hogwood
[ Decca / CD - released 9/Mar/2007 ]
"Anthony Pay's basset clarinet adds wonderfully oily low notes and his playing has all the range, clarity and vigour needed to bring this well-known work to new life." (KC)
Sacred Choral Works: St Matthew Passion; St John Passion; Mass in B minor; Christmas Oratorio (budget price) cover
add to cart $66.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
J.S. BACH
Sacred Choral Works: St Matthew Passion; St John Passion; Mass in B minor; Christmas Oratorio (budget price)
Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Stephen Varcoe, Andreas Schmidt, Barbara Bonney, Michael Chance / The Monteverdi Choir / English Baroque Soloists / Gardiner
[ Archiv Collectors Edition / 9 CD Box Set - released 5/May/2003 ]
1001 Classical recordings to hear before you die (1700-1760) -- "Gardiner conducts an exhilarating performance. Speeds are regularly on the fast side but, characteristically, Gardiner consistently keeps a spring in the rhythm." (Penguin Stereo...
Solo Piano Works: Sonata In E Major D157 / Sonata In G Major D894 / etc cover
add to cart $35.10 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
SCHUBERT
Solo Piano Works: Sonata In E Major D157 / Sonata In G Major D894 / etc
Arcadi Volodos (piano)
[ Sony Classics / CD - released 18/Mar/2002 ]
1001 Classical recordings to hear before you die (1801-1850) - Gramophone Magazine - Recording of the month (June 2002)
In C cover
add to cart $37.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
TERRY RILEY
In C
Ars Nova Copenhagen / Percurama Percussion Ensemble / Paul Hillier
[ DaCapo / CD - released 1/Mar/2007 ]
Terry Riley's 1964 masterpiece "In C" is probably the first masterpiece of US minimalism. From Paul Hillier of Hilliard Ensemble reknown comes a new version of this semi-improvised piece performed by mallet percussion and voices.