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 20 of 224

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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
Verdi: Aida (complete opera recorded in 2015) cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
Cecilia & Bryn: Duets cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
MOZART / ROSSINI / DONIZETTI
Cecilia & Bryn: Duets
Cecilia Bartoli (soprano) Bryn Terfel (bass) / Orchestra dell'Accademia di Santa
[ Decca Records / CD - released 2/May/2001 ]
The world's leading mezzo-soprano and the world's greatest baritone combine!
Faure: The Piano Quintets cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
GABRIEL FAURE
Faure: The Piano Quintets
Domus
[ Hyperion / CD - released 19/Sep/2003 ]
PENGUIN GUIDE ROSETTE GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER
Elina Garanca: Habanera cover
add to cart $33.00 In Stock
BIZET / FALLA / BERNSTEIN / RAVEL / LEHAR / etc
Elina Garanca: Habanera
Elina Garanca (mezzo) with Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Coro Filarmonico del Regio di Torino, Karel Mark Chichon
[ Deutsche Grammophon / CD - released 30/Aug/2010 ]
"GaranĨa's voice has been described as "creamy", "silken" and "lustrous" but it also has a surprisingly rounded maturity. What sets her apart, however, is the unteachable ability to send shivers down the spine." Editor's Choice - Gramophone Magazine,...
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - Operetta Arias cover
add to cart $25.00 In Stock
Elgar: Cello Concerto / Sea Pictures / Overture: Cockaigne cover
add to cart $20.00 In Stock
EDWARD ELGAR
Elgar: Cello Concerto / Sea Pictures / Overture: Cockaigne
Jacqueline Du Pre (cello) Dame Janet Baker (mezzo) / London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli
[ Warner Classics Original Jacket Reissues / CD - released 22/Aug/2015 ]
GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE 100 GREATEST RECORDINGS OF ALL TIME
Music for Strings cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS / HERBERT HOWELLS / FREDERICK DELIUS / SIR EDWARD ELGAR
Music for Strings
John Wilson, Sinfonia Of London
[ Chandos SACD / Hybrid SACD - released 3/Feb/2023 ]
"I expect it has been said before, but the Sinfonia of London belongs in the Formula 1 class of orchestras, and in this repertoire sits in pole position." Gramophone Award Finalist 2023 - Orchestral
Liszt: Piano Works (nine CD set) cover
add to cart $130.00 In Stock
FRANZ LISZT
Liszt: Piano Works (nine CD set)
Jorge Bolet (piano)
[ Decca Budget Boxes / 9 CD Box Set - released 26/May/2001 ]
All Bolet's solo Liszt recordings in one box at a special price
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Grieg: Lyric Pieces cover
add to cart $20.00 In Stock
EDWARD GRIEG
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Grieg: Lyric Pieces
Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)
[ EMI / Warner Classics / CD - released 3/Mar/2002 ]
GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER 2002 - Instrumental
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade / Capriccio espagnol cover
add to cart $22.00 In Stock
NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade / Capriccio espagnol
London Symphony Orchestra, Igor Markevitch, with Erich Gruenberg, solo violin (Scheherazade)
[ Decca Australian Eloquence / CD - released 14/Jun/2019 ]
"This is, quite simply, one of the best-played and recorded accounts of Scheherazade ever made, right from the opening moment when the LSO brass uncompromisingly blast out Sultan Schahriar's ominously threatening theme" MusicWeb
Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet (Complete ballet recorded November 2008) cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
SERGEI PROKOFIEV
Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet (Complete ballet recorded November 2008)
London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev
[ LSO Live SACD / 2 SACD - released 20/Jan/2010 ]
DISC OF THE YEAR 2011 (BBC Music) - "Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet warrants a hi-res recording of the complete score since it is regarded by many as the greatest ballet score ever composed. The live recording is sensational in its realism." (AudAud...
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Dvorak/Martinu/Janacek: Love Songs cover
add to cart $33.00 In Stock
Saint-Saëns: Organ Symphony / Carnival of the Animals cover
add to cart $25.00 In Stock
CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS
Saint-Saëns: Organ Symphony / Carnival of the Animals
Martha Argerich (piano) Antonio Pappano (piano) Daniele Rossi (organ) / Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
[ Warner Classics / CD - released 25/Sep/2017 ]
Martha Argerich and Antonio Pappano (as pianist rather than conductor) lead the fun in Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals with Members of the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Great Pianists of the 20th Century - Mikhail Pletnev cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
PYOTR Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Great Pianists of the 20th Century - Mikhail Pletnev
Mikhail Pletnev (piano) / The Philharmonia, Vladimir Fedoseyev
[ BMG Philips EMI / 2 CD - released 20/Jan/2018 ]
"Admirers of this pianist will count this Double an outstanding bargain." *** Three Stars Penguin Stereo Guide
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations (with Dvorak - Cello Concerto) cover
add to cart $25.00 In Stock
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations (with Dvorak - Cello Concerto)
Mstislav Rostropovich (cello) / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Herbert von Karajan
[ Deutsche Grammophon The Originals / CD - released 1/Jan/2001 ]
"the intensity of lyrical feeling and the spontaneity of the partnership between Karajan and Rostropovich ensures the position of their disc at the top of recommendations for this peer among nineteenth century cello concertos." Rosette. Penguin...
Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos (3 CDs ) cover
add to cart $40.00 In Stock
LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos (3 CDs )
Murray Perahia (piano) / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bernard Haitink
[ Sony Music / 3 CD - released 12/Jul/2007 ]
"Perahia, with Haitink a deeply sympathetic partner, gives masterly performances, as close to the heart of the music as any. The sound is full and well balanced...well worth it." (Penguin Stereo Guide)
Lilburn: The Three Symphonies cover
add to cart $25.00 In Stock
DOUGLAS LILBURN
Lilburn: The Three Symphonies
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra / James Judd
[ Naxos / CD - released 2/May/2002 ]
"There's a freshness and enthusiasm in Judd's readings, and he takes care with the music, observing every detail. Throughout all three symphonies there is a greater breadth and warmth of emotion than we've heard before." - Sunday Star Times (May 2002
Smetana: Ma Vlast (My Fatherland), including Vltava (Moldau) cover
add to cart $25.00 In Stock
BEDRICH SMETANA
Smetana: Ma Vlast (My Fatherland), including Vltava (Moldau)
The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra / Antoni Wit
[ Naxos / CD - released 15/Sep/2000 ]
"this new Naxos offering enshrines an interpretation of no mean stature and individuality: an undoubted bargain, I would say" - Gramophone