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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Bach: Partitas BWV825-BWV830 cover
add to cart $55.00 In 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
Mahler: Symphony No 9 (Recorded 1964) cover
add to cart $15.00 In Stock
GUSTAV MAHLER
Mahler: Symphony No 9 (Recorded 1964)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli
[ Warner Classics Masters / CD - released 25/Jul/2017 ]
"This new issue simply restores the recording to the catalogue where it belongs and at medium price on a single disc it represents excellent value. If you don't already own this great recording, one of the five or six best of this work ever taped" MW
Choir of King's College Cambridge - 5 Classic Albums cover
add to cart $40.00 In Stock
HANDEL / ALLEGRI / RACHMANINOV / VIVALDI / BACH / etc
Choir of King's College Cambridge - 5 Classic Albums
Choir of King's College, Cambridge / Academy of Ancient Music, Stephen Cleobury, with Susan Gritton, Robin Blaze & Jonathan Lemalu
[ Warner Classics 5 Classic Albums / 5 CD Box Set - released 1/May/2014 ]
"King's College Choir sing with great style and virtuosity, and bridge the gap between authenticity and excitement in a way that makes this a fine recommendation for these imaginative works." Gramophone Magazine (Awards Issue 2001 Coronation Anthems
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,...
Britten: War Requiem (plus Rehearsal sequences bonus) (Rec 1963) cover
add to cart $40.00 In Stock
BENJAMIN BRITTEN
Britten: War Requiem (plus Rehearsal sequences bonus) (Rec 1963)
Galina Vishnevskaya (soprano) Peter Pears (tenor) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) / London Symphony & chorus, Benjamin Britten, with Simon Preston
[ Decca Originals / 2 CD - released 12/Mar/2006 ]
1001 Classical Recordings you must hear before you die (1951 - present). "This superb recording, definitive in so many ways, speaks to us as powerfully today as it ever did" (MusicWeb Bargain of the Month Sept 2006)
Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527 (Complete opera) cover
add to cart $20.00 In Stock
W. A. MOZART
Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527 (Complete opera)
Hakan Hagegard, Gilles Cachemaille, Arleen Auger, Della Jones / Drottningholm Court Theatre, Arnold Ostman
[ Double Decca / 2 CD - released 1/Aug/2007 ]
"Even those who have never been to Drottningholm and experienced Arnold Ostman's Mozart in the flesh will know exactly what it is that makes his recorded performances live." (Gramophone)
Complete Schubert Edition: Die Schone Mullerin cover
add to cart $22.00 In Stock
SCHUBERT
Complete Schubert Edition: Die Schone Mullerin
Ian Bostridge (tenor) Graham Johnson (piano) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (reader)
[ Hyperion 30 / CD - released 1/Oct/2010 ]
GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER - PENGUIN GUIDE ROSETTE - GRAMOPHONE EDITOR'S CHOICE / CRITICS' CHOICE
Beethoven / Berg: Violin Concertos cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
BEETHOVEN / ALBAN BERG
Beethoven / Berg: Violin Concertos
Isabelle Faust (violin) / Orchestra Mozart / Claudio Abbado
[ Harmonia Mundi / CD - released 1/Mar/2012 ]
"The Beethoven and Berg Violin Concertos aren't commonly paired on disc. However, in this case it seems like an inspired piece of programme planning. Outstanding performances of both concertos, then; I'll want to return to them often." (Gramophone...
Bartok: Violin Concertos cover
add to cart $32.00 In Stock
BELA BARTOK
Bartok: Violin Concertos
Isabelle Faust (violin) / Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding
[ Harmonia Mundi / CD - released 29/Jul/2013 ]
BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014 Concerto Finalist / GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE AWARD NOMINATION 2014
Janet Baker sings Lieder cover
add to cart $18.00 In Stock
SCHUMANN / SCHUBERT / BRAHMS
Janet Baker sings Lieder
Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano) / Martin Isepp (piano)
[ Regis Records / CD - released 18/Oct/2005 ]
"Janet Baker's range of expression.. runs the whole gamut from joyful golden tone colour of courtship to the agony of bereavement ..Martin Isepp a highly sensitive and and supportive partner.." - Penguin Guide Rosette
Liszt: Piano Works (Includes Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Themes & Mephisto Waltz No.1) ( nine CD set!) cover
add to cart $55.00 In Stock
FRANZ LISZT
Liszt: Piano Works (Includes Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Themes & Mephisto Waltz No.1) ( 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 budget price!
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.
Best Of Maxim Vengerov cover
add to cart $95.00 In Stock
BEETHOVEN / BRAHMS / BRUCH / PAGANINI / TCHAIKOVSKY / SIBELIUS / etc
Best Of Maxim Vengerov
Maxim Vengerov (violin) / Various orchestras & conductors
[ Warner Classics / 11 CD Box Set - released 20/Nov/2006 ]
"his technique is highly impressive, and he produces a beautiful tone even in the violin's lower regions." (BBC Music)
Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonatas cover
add to cart $15.00 In Stock
DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonatas
Mikhail Pletnev (piano)
[ Erato Classics Red Line / CD - released 15/Oct/2018 ]
"Pletnev establishes a firm pianistic approach...The performances throughout are in the very front rank." Penguin Guide, 2011 edition
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien (with Beethoven-Wellington's Victory) cover
add to cart $25.00 In Stock
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOSVKY
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien (with Beethoven-Wellington's Victory)
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra / London Symphony Orchestra / Antal Dorati
[ Mercury Originals / CD - released 14/Jun/2007 ]
"This most famous of all Mercury records was one of the most successful classical LPs of all time, selling some two million copies in the analogue era. Remastered for CD, it sounds even more spectacular than it ever did in its vinyl format, vividly...
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 $25.00 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)
The Three Symphonies cover
add to cart $20.00 In Stock
DOUGLAS 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
Strauss Heroines (Capriccio, Arabella, Der Rosenkavalier) cover
add to cart $27.00 In Stock
Ravel: Sheherazade / Berlioz: Les Nuits d'ete / with a recital of French songs (rec 1963) cover
add to cart $25.00 In Stock
RAVEL / BERLIOZ
Ravel: Sheherazade / Berlioz: Les Nuits d'ete / with a recital of French songs (rec 1963)
Regine Crespin (soprano) / Suisse Romande Orchestra / Ernest Ansermet
[ Decca Originals / CD - released 20/Aug/2006 ]
"Crespin is right inside these songs and ravel's magically sensuous music emerges with striking spontaneity. She is superbly supported by Ansermet who, aided by the Decca engineers, weaves a fine tonal web round the voice." (Penguin Guide Rosette)