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 141 to 160 of 224

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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
New Zealand Composers cover
add to cart $26.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
DOUGLAS LILBURN / EDWIN CARR / GILLIAN WHITEHEAD / JENNY McLEOD / DAVID FARQUHAR / etc
New Zealand Composers
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Young
[ Continuum / 2 CD - released 23/Jan/2000 ]
The very best New Zealand music on a double CD! Includes Lilburn's 'Aotearoa Overture' & Farquhar's 'Ring Around the Moon'.
L'Arlesienne & Carmen Suites / Symphony in C / La Jolie fille de Perth cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
BIZET
L'Arlesienne & Carmen Suites / Symphony in C / La Jolie fille de Perth
Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal / Charles Dutoit
[ Double Decca / 2 CD - released 8/Sep/2003 ]
"With playing that is both elegant and vivid, and with superb, demonstration-worthy sound, Dutoit's polished yet affectionate coupling of the L'Arlesienne and Carmen suites make a clear first choice." (Penguin Guide)
Overtures / Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
ROSSINI
Overtures / Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with Charles Neidich (clarinet)
[ DG Entree / CD - released 1/Nov/2004 ]
"This is one of the finest of all collections of Rossini overtures to have been recorded in recent decades. The superbly stylish playing apart, one of the reasons for the disc's success is the fact of its working within shrewdly appointed boundaries...
Preludes I & II cover
add to cart $37.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
DEBUSSY
Preludes I & II
Pascal Roge (piano)
[ Onyx Classics / CD - released 20/Jun/2005 ]
"The recording is truly gorgeous, as is the piano sound." (MusicWeb June 2005)
Oiseaux Exotiques / Couleurs de la Cite Celeste and other works for piano and ensemble cover
add to cart $54.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
MESSIAEN
Oiseaux Exotiques / Couleurs de la Cite Celeste and other works for piano and ensemble
Peter Donohoe / Netherlands Wind Ensemble / Reinbert de Leeuuw
[ Chandos / 2 CD - released 1/Jan/1994 ]
Reinbert de Leeuw and his crackerjack Dutch musicians negotiate these difficult scores with dazzling aplomb, not to mention pianist Peter Donohoe's razor-sharp timbre and rhythmic suppleness. The bright, close-up live recording captures the full...
Litolff: Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 4 cover
add to cart $30.00 Low Stock
HENRY CHARLES LITOLFF
Litolff: Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 4
Peter Donohoe (piano) / Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Litton
[ Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto Vol 14 / CD - released 17/May/2001 ]
'This entertaining Hyperion CD is one of the year's surprises and very much worth having' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)
Bach: Cantatas for solo bass (BWV 56, 82, 158) cover
add to cart $35.00 Low Stock
J.S. BACH
Bach: Cantatas for solo bass (BWV 56, 82, 158)
Peter Kooy (bass) La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe
[ Harmonia Mundi / CD - released 18/Nov/2022 ]
These three cantatas for bass solo are based on episodes from the life of Christ (the healing of the lame man, the presentation in the temple, scenes from the Passion) with implications of the benevolence and consolation of death.
Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 13 / Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
SERGEI RACHMANINOV
Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 13 / Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
The Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin
[ Deutsche Grammophon / CD - released 26/Feb/2021 ]
"Indeed, [his] account of the troubled First Symphony is as surprising and as thrilling as any I have heard since the much-lauded Ormandy account...An altogether stunning album." Gramophone February 2021 Recording of the Month
Diabelli Variations cover
add to cart $23.00 Out of Stock
BEETHOVEN
Diabelli Variations
Piotr Anderszewski (piano)
[ EMI Recommends / CD - released 14/Oct/2007 ]
1001 Classical recordings to hear before you die (1801-1850) - "This is Beethoven first, artist second, and even if you have other versions, one recording of the Diabellis can never be enough. Treat yourself and enjoy a pianistic feast." (MusicWeb...
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 17 & 20 cover
add to cart $25.00 Low Stock
W. A. MOZART
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 17 & 20
Piotr Anderszewski (piano and conductor) / Scottish Chamber Orchestra
[ Erato Classics / CD - released 1/Feb/2006 ]
"In both these concertos everything is perfectly in proportion; the drama is never over-played in the D minor, while the slow movement of the G major is made that concerto's emotional heart" (Guardian)
The Gounod Edition: Operas, Choral Works, Symphonies cover
add to cart $84.00 Out of Stock
CHARLES GOUNOD
The Gounod Edition: Operas, Choral Works, Symphonies
Placido Domingo, Regine Crespin, Alfredo Kraus, Nicolai Gedda, Mirella Freni, Marilyn Horne, Rolando Villazon, etc
[ Warner Classics / 15 CD Box Set - released 25/Jun/2018 ]
"Anyone wanting a share in these darling old steeds at a tempting price will be amply satisfied." Opera
Ritrovato (Puccini rediscovered) cover
add to cart $31.50 Out of Stock
PUCCINI
Ritrovato (Puccini rediscovered)
Placido Domingo (tenor) & Violeta Urmana (soprano) / Wiener Philharmoniker, Alberto Veronesi
[ Deutsche Grammophon / CD - released 20/Nov/2009 ]
The Italian maestro, Alberto Veronesi, is again joined by the legendary Spanish tenor as he turns his expertise to a project of unusual interest entitled "Puccini ritrovato" - Puccini rediscovered
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
Gloria and other sacred music cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
JOHN RUTTER
Gloria and other sacred music
Polyphony / City of London Sinfonia / Stephen Layton
[ Hyperion / CD - released 10/Jun/2001 ]
Editor's Choice - Gramophone Magazine (Aug 2001)- 'Delicious performances of Rutter's wonderfully approachable and finely crafted vocal writing. The sound, too, is outstanding.
Symphonies No. 40 & No. 41 cover
add to cart $21.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
W.A. MOZART
Symphonies No. 40 & No. 41
Prague Chamber Orchestra / Sir Charles Mackerras
[ Telarc Classics / CD - released 22/Apr/2003 ]
"Mackerras's is an outstanding series, with electrifying performances of the early as well as the later symphonies." (Penguin Guide)
Violin Sonatas (Complete) cover
add to cart $37.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
J.S. BACH
Violin Sonatas (Complete)
Rachel Podger (violin) Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord)
[ Channel Classics / 2 CD - released 15/Jun/2001 ]
2001 GRAMOPHONE AWARD FINALIST - Baroque Instrumental
Brahms: String Sextets Nos 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-4 weeks
JOHANNES BRAHMS
Brahms: String Sextets Nos 1 & 2
The Raphael Ensemble
[ Hyperion / CD - released 11/Nov/2000 ]
GRAMOPHONE CRITICS' CHOICE - 'Their performances can take their place beside any of the great chamber music recordings of the past, and will continue to set standards for years to come' (Gramophone)
Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Complete Opera recorded in 1967) cover
add to cart $20.00 Out of Stock
GIACOMO PUCCINI
Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Complete Opera recorded in 1967)
Renata Scotto, Carlo Bergonzi, Anna di Stasio, Rolando Panerai / Rome Opera, Sir John Barbirolli
[ Warner Classics The Home of Opera / 2 CD - released 25/Apr/2018 ]
'a performance that will remind you of the first time you fell in love with this opera' (Good CD Guide)
Strauss Heroines (Capriccio, Arabella, Der Rosenkavalier) cover
add to cart $27.00 Low Stock