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 201 to 220 of 223

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Shostakovich: Piano Quintet / String Quartet No. 2 cover
add to cart $30.00 Low Stock
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH
Shostakovich: Piano Quintet / String Quartet No. 2
Takács Quartet, with Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 25/Apr/2015 ]
"Right from the very first bar I felt that these were going to be fine performances of these two Shostakovich works. The first movement of Quartet No.2 is played with vigour and forward thrust." (Recording of the Month MusicWeb April 2015)
Brahms: String Quartet / Piano Quintet cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
JOHANNES BRAHMS
Brahms: String Quartet / Piano Quintet
Takacs Quartet with Stephen Hough (piano)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 30/Nov/2007 ]
'The Takács Quartet bring a huge sense of enjoyment to both the Piano Quintet and the String Quartet Op 51 No 2, and it's clear that this chamber music is being revelled in by its players as much as its listeners. Stephen Hough's playing -...
Ikon of Light / Funeral Ikos / The Lamb / etc cover
add to cart $17.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
JOHN TAVENER
Ikon of Light / Funeral Ikos / The Lamb / etc
Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director
[ Gimell / CD - released 10/May/2014 ]
"Enjoying a close working relationship with Tavener at the time, The Tallis Scholars imbued these performances with a real sense of ownership and an innate feel for the graceful shaping of his chant-inspired lines" Gramophone Magazine Re-issue of the
Stabat Mater / Salve Regina and other works cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
WILLIAM CORNYSH
Stabat Mater / Salve Regina and other works
Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director
[ Gimell / CD - released 25/Apr/2002 ]
Penguin Guide - Rosette Recording
Janacek - Glagolitic Mass / Kodaly - Psalmus Hungaricus, Op. 13 cover
add to cart $30.00 Low Stock
LEOS JANACEK / ZOLTA KODALY
Janacek - Glagolitic Mass / Kodaly - Psalmus Hungaricus, Op. 13
Tina Kiberg (sop) Randi Stene (mez) Peter Svensson (ten) Ulrik Cold (bass) Per Salo (organ) / Danish National Radio Choir, Charles Mackerras
[ Chandos Classics / CD - released 10/May/2004 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1901-1950) - "Mackerras's new version is of particular interest as it embodies another of the reconstructions that have been painstakingly made of Janacek's original intentions in different...
Brahms: Piano Trios 3 & 4 cover
add to cart $21.00 Special Order
3 - 6 weeks
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...
Tchaikovsky & Babajanian: Piano Trio cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
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
Suor Angelica (complete opera recorded in 1957) cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-4 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...
Puccini: La Boheme (complete opera recorded in 1956) cover
add to cart $35.00 Low Stock
GIACOMO PUCCINI
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.
Mahler: Symphony No 5 cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
GUSTAV MAHLER
Mahler: Symphony No 5
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
[ Deutsche Grammophon Grand Prix / CD - released 15/Feb/2007 ]
"…Best of all is Bernstein himself, here at his exciting best, giving daemonic edge to the music where it is appropriate and building the symphony inexorably to its final triumph." Gramophone Top ten Mahler Symphony Recordings
Strauss, (R.): Also Sprach Zarathustra / Tod und Verklarung [Death & Transfiguration] cover
add to cart $21.00 Out of Stock
RICHARD STRAUSS
Strauss, (R.): Also Sprach Zarathustra / Tod und Verklarung [Death & Transfiguration]
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...
Beethoven: Symphony Nos 5 & 7 cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
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 - 50 GREATEST RECORDINGS OF ALL TIME (No 2) BBC MUSIC
Glass: Piano Works cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
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
Rachmaninov: Preludes op.23, op.32, op.3 no.2 cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
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...
Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $45.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
J. S. BACH
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...
Kreek: The Suspended Harp of Babel cover
add to cart $40.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
CYRILLUS KREEK
Kreek: The Suspended Harp of Babel
Vox Clamantis
[ ECM / CD - released 8/May/2020 ]
"The singing breathes with a collective, gentle inevitability…The final impression is abiding solace for these distracted times." BBC Music Five Stars. Choral & Song Choice July 2020
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
Beethoven: Triple Concerto / Choral Fantasy cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: Triple Concerto / Choral Fantasy
Alexandra Conunova (violin), Natalie Clein (cello) & David Kadouch (piano), Bertrand Chamayou (piano), Sandrine Piau (soprano) / Accentus
[ Erato Classics / CD - released 10/Jun/2019 ]
Conductor Laurence Equilbey is fascinated and inspired by the unconventional, hybrid character of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy and Triple Concerto.
Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (rec 1964-65) [CD set plus Blu-ray audio] cover
add to cart $115.00 Out of 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 $25.00 Low Stock
LUDWIG van 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...