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 81 to 100 of 224

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Shostakovich: String Quartets No. 1, 4, 6, 8, 9 & 11 cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH
Shostakovich: String Quartets No. 1, 4, 6, 8, 9 & 11
Jerusalem Quartet
[ Harmonia Mundi Gold / 2 CD - released 1/Feb/2013 ]
BBC AWARD WINNER 2008 - Best Chamber recording - 'This is challenging, unpredictable Shostakovich which always convinces even when the approach is new. The Jerusalem Quartet's tonal range is daunting too.' (BBC)
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 in E flat major 'Symphony of the Thousand' (recorded live in 1991) cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
GUSTAV MAHLER
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 in E flat major 'Symphony of the Thousand' (recorded live in 1991)
Júlia Várady, Jane Eaglen, Trudeliese Schmidt, Jadwiga Rappé, Kenneth Riegel, Hans Sotin / London Philharmonic Orchestra, Klaus Tennstedt
[ LPO Live / 2 CD - released 22/Jun/2011 ]
"...Tennstedt is overwhelming. Try topping the orchestral peroration, offstage trumpets stretching the "Veni, Creator Spiritus" motif from the interval of a fifth beyond the octave to a heaven-storming ninth." Gramophone Top Ten Mahler Symphonies
Bach: Cantatas Vol 1: BWV7, 30, 167; BWV20, 39, 75 cover
add to cart $40.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
J. S. BACH
Bach: Cantatas Vol 1: BWV7, 30, 167; BWV20, 39, 75
Joanne Lunn, Gillian Keith, Wilke te Brummelstroete, Paul Agnew. Monteverdi Choir. English Baroque Soloists. John Eliot Gardiner
[ Soli Deo Gloria / 2 CD - released 10/Feb/2005 ]
Cantatas For the Feast of St John the Baptist and the First Sunday after Trinity. "The first steps on this Bach pilgrimage lift the heart for the journey to come." Recording of the Month Gramophone Magazine (March 2005) WINNER BEST BAROQUE VOCAL...
Bach: Cantatas Vol 10: BWV48, BWV5, BWV90 & BWV56; BWV79, BWV192 & BWV80 cover
add to cart $40.00 Low Stock
Requiem / Prologue to Mefistofele / Te Deum cover
add to cart $32.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
BERLIOZ / BOITO / VERDI
Requiem / Prologue to Mefistofele / Te Deum
John Aler, tenor, Robert Shaw Chorale. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Robert Shaw
[ Telarc Classics / 2 CD - released 7/Mar/2004 ]
"The performance on this recording is about as satisfying as one can imagine, and the recording itself is simply breathtaking." —Stereophile
Biber: The Mystery Sonatas cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
HEINRICH IGNAZ FRANZ von BIBER
Biber: The Mystery Sonatas
John Holloway / Davitt Moroney / Tragicomedia
[ Virgin Veritas / 2 CD - released 2/Sep/2002 ]
"Holloway's performance stands well against the competition and not least for the imaginative support he gets from his colourful continuo group." (Penguin Guide Rosette Recording)
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
Handel: Agrippina (complete opera) cover
add to cart $55.00 Low Stock
GEORG FRIDERIC HANDEL
Handel: Agrippina (complete opera)
Joyce DiDonato, Elsa Benoit, Biagio Pizzuti, Franco Fagioli, Andrea Mastroni, Jakub Józef OrliƄski / l Pomo d'Oro, Maxim Emelyanychev
[ Erato Classics / 3 CD - released 31/Jan/2020 ]
"With DiDonato nonpareil in the title-role and a uniformly strong cast, this now becomes a first choice for Handel's Venetian masterpiece." Gramophone Awards 2020 WINNER - Opera
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Beethoven: Early Cantatas cover
add to cart $25.00 Low Stock
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Beethoven: Early Cantatas
Judith Howarth, Janice Watson (soprano), Jean Rigby (mezzo soprano), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Jose Van Dam (bass) / Corydon Singers & Orchestra
[ Hyperion Helios / CD - released 28/Aug/1997 ]
'Arguably Beethoven's first major masterpiece … superb performance, at once fresh and incisive and deeply moving' - PENGUIN GUIDE ROSETTE
Barber: Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op 24 / Toccata Festiva, Op 24 cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
SAMUEL BARBER
Barber: Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op 24 / Toccata Festiva, Op 24
Karina Gauvin (soprano) Thomas Trotter (organ) / Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Marin Alsop
[ Naxos American Classics / CD - released 20/May/2004 ]
"A Knoxville performance to treasure as this essential Barber series reaches a new high point" Gramophone Magazine Recording of the Month (June 2004)
Piano Trios Op.1 No.3 & B flat major 'Archduke' cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
BEETHOVEN
Piano Trios Op.1 No.3 & B flat major 'Archduke'
Kempf Trio
[ BIS / SACD - released 1/Jul/2004 ]
"...make room for pianist Freddy Kempf and his cohorts, whose individual and collective agility dazzles the ear and serves the composer well...Certainly this release bodes well for a complete Beethoven cycle from the Kempf trio, and represents its...
Dido and Aeneas / Indian Queen (complete operas) cover
add to cart $45.00 Out of Stock
PURCELL
Dido and Aeneas / Indian Queen (complete operas)
Catherine Bott, Emma Kirkby, John Mark Ainsley, David Thomas / Chorus and Orchestra of The Academy of Ancient Music / Christopher Hogwood
[ Decca Operas / 2 CD - released 22/Apr/2012 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (pre 1700) - "Key to the whole opera is the casting of Dido herself - and no singer surpasses Catherine Bott's poignant acceptance of death in the famous 'Lament'" (GP 1001 Classical recordings)
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker (Complete ballet on one CD) cover
add to cart $40.00 Out of Stock
PYOTR Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker (Complete ballet on one CD)
The Kirov Orchestra, Valery Gergiev
[ Philips / CD - released 15/Apr/2003 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1851-1900) - "Philips has somehow crammed more than 81 minutes of superb sound onto this disc, making it a remarkable bargain. Very highly recommended!"
Cantatas Nos BWV179, BWV199 & BWV113 cover
add to cart $15.00 Out of Stock
J.S. BACH
Cantatas Nos BWV179, BWV199 & BWV113
Kozena, Towers, Padmore, Loges / English Baroque Soloists / John Eliot Gardiner
[ DG Archiv / CD - released 21/Oct/2000 ]
A live performance of Bach's Cantatas for the 11th Sunday after Trinity. Features Magdalena Kozena's stunning performance of BWV199 "Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut"
Brahms: 3 Violin Sonatas cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
JOHANNES BRAHMS
Brahms: 3 Violin Sonatas
Krysia Osostowicz (violin) Susan Tomes (piano)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 26/May/2008 ]
'Subtle enough to suggest that for both artists these performances were a revelatory voyage of discovery' (Gramophone)
Liszt: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 / Totentanz cover
add to cart $36.00 Low Stock
FRANZ LISZT
Liszt: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 / Totentanz
Krystian Zimerman (piano) / Boston Symphony Orchestra / Seiji Ozawa
[ Deutsche Grammophon / CD - released 2/Jan/2002 ]
Rosette (Highest Rating) Penguin Stereo Guide
Ravel: The Piano Concertos / Valses nobles et sentimentales (orchestral version) cover
add to cart $38.00 Out of Stock
MAURICE RAVEL
Ravel: The Piano Concertos / Valses nobles et sentimentales (orchestral version)
Krystian Zimerman (piano) Cleveland Orchestra / London Symphony / Pierre Boulez
[ Deutsche Grammophon / CD - released 20/Jul/2001 ]
1999 Gramophone Award Winner: Concerto - A Penguin Stereo Guide Rosette recording
Rondo of the Waves: The Oceanides, Op.73 / Coronation March / Porilaisten marssi / etc cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
Tone Poems: En Saga, The Dryad, Pohjola's Daughter, Night Ride and Sunrise cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
SIBELIUS
Tone Poems: En Saga, The Dryad, Pohjola's Daughter, Night Ride and Sunrise
Lahti Symphony Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vanska
[ BIS / CD - released 1/Apr/2002 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1901-1950) - This is a very appealing collection of Sibelius favourites and rarities." (Editor's Choice Gramophone Magazine Sept 2002)