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 161 to 180 of 233

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Gloria and other sacred music cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 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
2-6 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
2-6 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
String Sextets Nos 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
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)
Der Rosenkavalier (Complete opera) cover
add to cart $43.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
RICHARD STRAUSS
Der Rosenkavalier (Complete opera)
Regine Crespin, Manfred Jungwirth, Yvonne Minton / Vienna Philharmonic / Sir Georg Solti
[ Decca originals / 3 CD - released 10/Mar/2008 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1901-1950) - "Regine Crespin brings welcome French chic to the proceedings, and Manfred Jungwirth makes his mark as Ochs." (CMS 1001 Classical)
Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Complete Opera recorded in 1967) cover
add to cart $20.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
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
Ravel: Sheherazade / Berlioz: Les Nuits d'ete / with a recital of French songs (rec 1963) cover
add to cart $25.00 In Stock
MAURICE RAVEL / HECTOR 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)
Debussy: Pelleas and Melisande (Complete Opera recorded in 1978) cover
add to cart $33.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
CLAUDE DEBUSSY
Debussy: Pelleas and Melisande (Complete Opera recorded in 1978)
Richard Stilwell, Frederica von Stade, Josa van Dam. Berlin Philharmonic / Herbert von Karajan
[ Warner Classics Home of Opera / 3 CD Box Set - released 20/Jan/2017 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1901-1950) - "a very characteristically Karajan performance, deeply committed and full of beautiful things. The casting is excellent." (Gramophone)
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado (Complete Opera) cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
GILBERT and SULLIVAN
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado (Complete Opera)
Richard Suart, Donald Adams, Marie Mclaughlin, Anthony Rolfe Johnson / Welsh National Opera, Charles Mackerras
[ Telarc Records / CD - released 7/Jul/2000 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1851-1900) Rosette (highest rating) Penguin Stereo Guide
Piano Works Vol. 1 (Includes the Pathatique Sonata) cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
BEETHOVEN
Piano Works Vol. 1 (Includes the Pathatique Sonata)
Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano)
[ BIS / SACD - released 1/Sep/2004 ]
"The playing is riveting. Brautigam draws out the "Pathetique" sonata's first-movement introduction with plenty of rhetorical emphasis yet keeps the dotted rhythms in sharp focus...Whether in SACD surround-sound or conventional two-channel stereo...
Grieg: Peer Gynt / Symphonic Dance No.2 / In Autumn / etc. cover
add to cart $15.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
EDVARD GREIG
Grieg: Peer Gynt / Symphonic Dance No.2 / In Autumn / etc.
Ilse Hollweg (soprano) / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
[ Warner Classics / CD - released 13/Feb/2012 ]
"Beecham showed a very special feeling for this score and to hear (these excerpts) under his baton is a uniquely rewarding experience. Ilse Hollweg makes an excellent soloist." Rosette - Penguin Stereo Guide
Korngold: Violin Concerto / String Sextet cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD
Korngold: Violin Concerto / String Sextet
Andrew Haverson (violin) / RTE Concert Orchestra, John Wilson (conductor)
[ Chandos / CD - released 3/Apr/2020 ]
"[The Sextet] gets an absolutely cracking performance here from key members of Wilson's newly reformed Sinfonia of London led by Haveron" Gramophone Editor's Choice May 2020
Symphony No 6 Pathetique / Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture cover
add to cart $15.29 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No 6 Pathetique / Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Russian National Orchestra / Mikhail Pletnev
[ Deutsche Grammophon Entree / CD - released 11/Oct/2002 ]
"for Pletnev, the Pathetique, I suspect, stands apart from the other symphonies, as this new DG account remains an interpretation that throws moderation to the winds." (Gramophone)
Chanson d'Amour cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
FAURÉ / POULENC / RAVEL / DEBUSSY
Chanson d'Amour
Sabine Devieilhe (soprano), Alexandre Tharaud (piano)
[ Erato Classics / CD - released 11/Sep/2020 ]
GRAMOPHONE Award Nomination 2021 - Song BBC Music Award Nomination 2021 - Vocal
Beethoven: Fidelio (compete opera recorded in 1962) cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: Fidelio (compete opera recorded in 1962)
Gottlob Frick, Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry, Ingeborg Hallstein / Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus, Otto Klemperer
[ Warner Classics the Home of Opera / 2 CD - released 1/Feb/2016 ]
"Christa Ludwig, a mezzo rather than true soprano, brings dark colours to the role of Leonore, while tenor Jon Vickers is a superb Florestan." BBC Music Magazine, January 2012
Symphony No. 1 / Academic Festival Overture cover
add to cart $17.99 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
BRAHMS
Symphony No. 1 / Academic Festival Overture
Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Sir Charles Mackerras
[ Telarc Classics / CD - released 20/Sep/2005 ]
"An example of what's best in a new school of thought on the subject, the discs are indispensable." - Los Angeles Times
Flute Concertos cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
W.A. MOZART
Flute Concertos
Sharon Bezaly (flute) / Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Juha Kangas
[ BIS SACD / SACD - released 1/Feb/2008 ]
"I was immediately struck by the dynamic shading the conductor was extracting from the orchestra, each phrase sharply chiselled. A remarkable and fascinating achievement." (MusicWeb Oct 2005)
Masterworks for Flute and Piano cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
PROKOFIEV / SCHUBERT / DUTILLEUX / JOLIVET
Masterworks for Flute and Piano
Sharon Bezaly (flute) / Ronald Brautigam (piano)
[ BIS SACD / Hybrid SACD - released 1/Jan/2006 ]
"On the evidence of this sensational disc, it seems clear that Sharon Bezaly is a flutist virtually without peer in the world today. Here we have four genuine masterpieces that make a lovely program together, all really written for flute and piano,...
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Verdi: Macbeth (Complete Opera) cover
add to cart $40.00 In Stock
GIUSEPPE VERDI
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Verdi: Macbeth (Complete Opera)
Shirley Verrett, Piero Cappuccilli, Placido Domingo / Milan La Scala Chorus; Milan La Scala Orchestra / Claudio Abbado
[ Deutsche Grammophon Originals / 2 CD Box Set - released 5/May/2000 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1801-1850) - "scrupulously prepared, executed and recorded." (Gramophone)