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 262

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Schumann: String Quartet No. 1 in a minor op. 41 No1 / String Quartet No. 3 in A Major op. 41 No3 cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
ROBERT SCHUMANN
Schumann: String Quartet No. 1 in a minor op. 41 No1 / String Quartet No. 3 in A Major op. 41 No3
Zehetmair Quartett
[ ECM Records / CD - released 26/May/2003 ]
GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE RECORDING OF THE YEAR 2003 - "Revelatory performances that plumb the soul of Schumann's wild and searching muse" (Gramophone Recording of the Month June 2003)
Gershwin: Porgy and Bess (Complete Opera) cover
add to cart $33.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
GEORGE GERSHWIN
Gershwin: Porgy and Bess (Complete Opera)
Willard White, Cynthia Haymon, Cynthia Clarey / Glyndebourne Chorus & London Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle
[ Warner Classics Home of Opera / 3 CD - released 20/Jan/2017 ]
GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE 100 GREATEST RECORDINGS OF ALL TIME "A performance that entranced audiences at Glyndebourne and which crosses over to CD virtually intact, revealing what a great dramatic world Gershwin conjured up." (Gramophone)
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos 4 in G & 5 in E flat 'Emperor' cover
add to cart $15.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos 4 in G & 5 in E flat 'Emperor'
Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Berliner Philharmoniker / Ferdinand Leitner
[ Deutsche Grammophone The Originals / CD - released 5/Sep/2003 ]
"The Kempff/Leitner performances bring another outstanding mid-priced recommendation. In the Forth Concerto Kempff's delicacy of fingerwork and his shading of tone-colour are unsurpassed." * * * Three Stars (Penguin Stereo Guide)
Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (rec 1964-65) [CD set plus Blu-ray audio] cover
add to cart $95.00 In Stock
LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (rec 1964-65) [CD set plus Blu-ray audio]
Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
[ Deutsche Grammophon CD + Blu-ray audio / 9 CD Box Set - released 10/Sep/2019 ]
"These are all great perfornmances, and the remastered recordings have all been enhanced to an extraordinary degree to give an uncannily realistic piano-image, helped by the immediacy of Kempff's communication." Rosette Recording Penguin Stereo Guide
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 8 'Pathetique' No14 'Moonlight' No 21 'Waldstein' No 23 'Appassionata' cover
add to cart $15.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 8 'Pathetique' No14 'Moonlight' No 21 'Waldstein' No 23 'Appassionata'
Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
[ Deutsche Grammophon The Originals / CD - released 5/Sep/2003 ]
"Everything Kempff does has his individual stamp; above all, he never fails to convey the deep intensity of a matter in communication with Beethoven, as in teh magic of his measured reading of the finale of the Waldstein. The Appasoniata is...
Martin: Mass for Double Choir (with Pizzetti - Messa di Requiem) cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
FRANK MARTIN
Martin: Mass for Double Choir (with Pizzetti - Messa di Requiem)
Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell
[ Hyperion / CD - released 19/Sep/2003 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1901-1950) - GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER / RECORD OF THE YEAR Rosette (Highest Rating) Penguin Stereo Guide
Les Nuits d'ete / la Mort de Cleopatre cover
add to cart $22.00 Special Order
3 - 6 weeks
BERLIOZ
Les Nuits d'ete / la Mort de Cleopatre
Veronique Gens / Orchestre de l'Opera national de Lyon / Louis Langree
[ Virgin Records / CD - released 20/Oct/2001 ]
GRAMOPHONE AWARD NOMINATION 2002 - Vocal
Piano Concertos, Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Preludes, etc [6 CD set] cover
add to cart $45.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
RACHMANINOV
Piano Concertos, Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Preludes, etc [6 CD set]
Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) / London Symphony Orchestra. Andre Previn
[ Decca Budget Boxes / 6 CD Box Set - released 1/Jul/2001 ]
"This bargain box was perhaps the finest of Decca's special reissues made to celebrate Ashkenazy's 60th birthday. All these performances are very distinguished indeed." - Rosette - Penguin Stereo Guide
Bartok: Piano Concertos 1-3 / Violin Concertos 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
BELA BARTOK
Bartok: Piano Concertos 1-3 / Violin Concertos 1 & 2
Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) Kyung Wha Chung (violin) London Philharmonic Orchestra / Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Georg Solti
[ Double Decca / 2 CD - released 4/Jan/2003 ]
This programme brings together Bartók's five concertos in acclaimed performances by Vladimir Ashkenazy and Kyung Wha Chung
Rachmaninov: Preludes op.23, op.32, op.3 no.2 cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
SERGEI RACHMANINOV
Rachmaninov: Preludes op.23, op.32, op.3 no.2
Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)
[ Decca Originals / CD - released 25/Mar/2007 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1851-1900) - 'Perhaps what strikes home most of all is the sheer aristocracy of his playing...everything is beautifully moulded and proportioned, beautifully balanced and blended.' Gramophone...
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $45.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
J. S. BACH
The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 & 2
Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)
[ Decca / 3 CD - released 13/Apr/2006 ]
MARBECKS STAFF RECORDING OF THE YEAR 2006 - 'He brings a rewarding limpidity and lucidity of thought and texture to Bach's music' (BBC Music Magazine Disc of the Month May 2006) "Directness, articulation and absolute trust in the music's own...
Glass: Piano Works cover
add to cart $37.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
PHILIP GLASS
Glass: Piano Works
Víkingur Ólafsson (piano) / Siggi String Quartet
[ Deutsche Grammophon / CD - released 1/May/2017 ]
"Ólafsson's interpretations inhabit a unique, distinct and extraordinary world all their own...[he] possesses that rare gift of illuminating a familiar work in unexpected ways, revealing hidden depths and drawing out its best qualities" Gramophone
Symphony No 8 cover
add to cart $36.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
BRUCKNER
Symphony No 8
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Pierre Boulez
[ Deutsche Grammophon / CD - released 15/Aug/2001 ]
2001 GRAMOPHONE AWARD FINALIST - Orchestral
Beethoven: Symphony Nos 5 & 7 cover
add to cart $20.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: Symphony Nos 5 & 7
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Carlos Kleiber
[ Deutsche Grammophon The Originals / CD - released 1/Jan/2002 ]
1001 Classical recordings to hear before you die (1801-1850) - ROSETTE (Highest Rating) Penguin Stereo Guide
Also Sprach Zarathustra / Tod und Verklarung cover
add to cart $21.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
RICHARD STRAUSS
Also Sprach Zarathustra / Tod und Verklarung
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Andre Previn
[ Telarc Classics / CD - released 16/Apr/2002 ]
"Previn draws magnificent playing fromthe Vienna Philharmonic in powerful, red-blooded readings of the symphonic poems, and the recording is among Telarc's finest. Strongly recommended for anyone wanting this particular coupling, and enjoying...
La Boheme (complete opera recorded in 1956) cover
add to cart $28.00 ETA: 4-7 business days
PUCCINI
La Boheme (complete opera recorded in 1956)
Victoria de los Angeles / Jussi Bjorling / Robert Merrill / Lucine Amara / RCA Victor Orchestra / Sir Thomas Beecham
[ Naxos Great Opera Recordings / 2 CD - released 11/Apr/2007 ]
Featuring Victoria de los Angeles and Jussi Björling in glorious form, the 1956 set ranks alongside the Callas De Sabata Tosca (Naxos 8.110256-57) as one of the greatest studio recordings of an opera ever made.
Suor Angelica (complete opera recorded in 1957) cover
add to cart $20.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
PUCCINI
Suor Angelica (complete opera recorded in 1957)
Victoria de los Angeles / Fedora Barbieri / Rome Opera / Tullio Serafin
[ Naxos Historical / CD - released 1/Jul/2009 ]
Victoria de los Angeles's performance as Sister Angelica demands superlatives: 'it is in every way perfect, beautifully sung, infinitely touching, and free from the slightest suggestion of theatricality', wrote The Gramophone when this recording was...
Tchaikovsky & Babajanian: Piano Trio cover
add to cart $35.00 Low Stock
PYOTR TCHAIKOVSKY / ARNO BABAJANIAN
Tchaikovsky & Babajanian: Piano Trio
Vadim Gluzman (violin), Johannes Moser (cello), Yevgeny Sudbin (piano)
[ BIS SACD / CD - released 4/Oct/2019 ]
"The playing is superb, Gluzman and Moser intoning the impassioned opening elegy [of the Tchaikovsky] with grave authority before Sudbin takes over with all his mercurial brilliance and the music takes flight...outstanding recording." - The Observer
Brahms: Piano Trios 3 & 4 cover
add to cart $21.00 In Stock
Trio Fontenay
Brahms: Piano Trios 3 & 4
[ Teldec Apex / CD ]
"The members of the Trio Fontenay, like other first-class chamber players, know how to meld into a unified, responsive ensemble without losing their distinctive timbres - the piano tone gleaming, well-supported piano tone, that of the violin...
The Piano Trios cover
add to cart $20.00 Low Stock
BRAHMS
The Piano Trios
Trio Fontenay
[ Teldec Apex / 2 CD - released 2/Mar/2009 ]
"Warner's Apex series… continues to offer much interesting repertoire" (BBC Music Magazine, June 2003)