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.

Here are a selection of recommended recordings that should find a place in everyone's collection.

Displaying items 1 to 10 of 224

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String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
ENESCU
String Quartets Nos 1 & 2
Ad Libitum Quartet
[ Naxos / CD - released 1/May/2001 ]
2001 GRAMOPHONE AWARD FINALIST - Chamber
Satie: Gymnopedies and other piano works cover
add to cart $20.00 Low Stock
ERIK SATIE
Satie: Gymnopedies and other piano works
Aldo Ciccolini (piano)
[ Warner Classics Original Jacket Reissues / EMI / 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...
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Shostakovich: The preludes and fugues cover
add to cart $45.00 Low Stock
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Shostakovich: The preludes and fugues
Alexander Melnikov (piano)
[ Harmonia Mundi / 2 CD - released 10/Apr/2015 ]
"Melnikov unquestionably gives an impression of freshness and daring, as if he's discovering the music for the first time." (BBC Music Award WINNER 2011 - Instrumental)
Shostakovich: Piano Concertos nos.1 & 2 / Sonata for violin and piano op.134 cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH
Shostakovich: Piano Concertos nos.1 & 2 / Sonata for violin and piano op.134
Alexander Melnikov (piano) / Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Teodor Currentzis, with Isabelle Faust (violin)
[ Harmonia Mundi / CD - released 20/Feb/2012 ]
"He makes his case well. The First Concerto is all rampaging dissonances and erotic regret; the Second (1957) masks nerve-racking syncopations beneath its surface brilliance...[the sonata] a compelling performance in which logic and rhetoric combine...
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)
Shostakovich: Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH
Shostakovich: Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2
Alina Ibragimova (violin), State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia 'Evgeny Svetlanov', Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 5/Jun/2020 ]
GRAMOPHONE Award WINNER 2021 - Concerto BBC Music Award Nomination 2021 - Concerto
String Quartets: Brahms Nos.1-3; Dvořák No.12 'American'; Haydn Op.76/3 'Emperor' cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
JOHANNES BRAHMS / ANTONIN DVORAK / JOSEPH HAYDN
String Quartets: Brahms Nos.1-3; Dvořák No.12 'American'; Haydn Op.76/3 'Emperor'
Amadeus Quartet
[ Alto / CD - released 17/Feb/2023 ]
"I'm struck afresh by the power, precision and sheer puissance of their music-making … The Brahms quartet recordings remain 'outstanding'; affectionate but free of affection, considered yet vitally spontaneous" [Dvořák]: "strongly conceived, full of...
Bach: Partitas BWV825-BWV830 cover
add to cart $60.00 Low Stock
J. S. BACH
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 "Schiff's…unashamedly and masterfully pianistic, contrasting sustained tone and light staccato teasing out fragmentary motifs." BBC Music
Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier Books 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $80.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
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
Goldberg Variations cover
add to cart $40.00 Low 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...