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 1 to 20 of 246

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Satie: Gymnopedies and other piano works cover
add to cart $20.00 In Stock
ERIK SATIE
Satie: Gymnopedies and other piano works
Aldo Ciccolini (piano)
[ Warner Classics Original Jacket Reissues / CD - released 20/Apr/2015 ]
"No more committed or convincing champion of this music could be found than Ciccolini, who equally well conveys, for example, the tenderness of the fifth Gnossienne, the pre-Poulenc pert humour and charm of the Morceaux en forme de poire and the...
Shostakovich: Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH
Shostakovich: Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2
Alina Ibragimova (violin), State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia 'Evgeny Svetlanov', Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 5/Jun/2020 ]
GRAMOPHONE Award WINNER 2021 - Concerto BBC Music Award Nomination 2021 - Concerto
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From the New World / Symphonic Variations Op. 78 cover
add to cart $20.00 In Stock
ANTONIN DVORAK
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From the New World / Symphonic Variations Op. 78
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra / Marin Alsop
[ Naxos / CD - released 1/Jul/2008 ]
"The Largo is given one of the most perfectly shaped and unaffectedly styraightforward performances I have heard, led by a magnificently vocal cor anglais solo." Disc of the Month (BBC Music Magazine July 2008)
Bach: Goldberg Variations cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
J. S. BACH
Bach: Goldberg Variations
Beatrice Rana (piano)
[ Warner Classics / CD - released 1/Mar/2017 ]
"Her detailing is one of the aspects that makes this performance so compelling, be it the bringing out of a new line in the repeat, subtle changes in phrasing, a touch of pedal - examples are to be found in every single variation." Gramophone
Rota: The Fellini Album cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
NINO ROTA
Rota: The Fellini Album
Filarmonica della Scala, Riccardo Chailly
[ Decca Records / CD - released 2/Aug/2019 ]
Together with the Filarmonica della Scala, Riccardo Chailly explores the iconic film scores of Nino Rota in a new collection, The Fellini Album, on Decca. Released to mark 40 years since Rota's death in April 1979, the album contains music from...
Cecilia & Bryn: Duets cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
MOZART / ROSSINI / DONIZETTI
Cecilia & Bryn: Duets
Cecilia Bartoli (soprano) Bryn Terfel (bass) / Orchestra dell'Accademia di Santa
[ Decca Records / CD - released 2/May/2001 ]
The world's leading mezzo-soprano and the world's greatest baritone combine!
Bach: St Matthew Passion (Complete on 2 CDs) cover
add to cart $45.00 In Stock
J. S. BACH
Bach: St Matthew Passion (Complete on 2 CDs)
Deborah York, Julia Gooding, Magdalena Kozena, Susan Bickley, Mark Padmore, Gabrieli Players, Paul McCreesh
[ Archiv / 2 CD - released 15/Apr/2003 ]
"With his modest forces, McCreesh's performance of the St Matthew Passion has a transparency and grace that can be quite breathtaking." Recording of the Month - Gramophone Magazine (May 2003)
A Feather on the Breath of God cover
add to cart $30.00 In Stock
HILDEGARD von BINGEN
A Feather on the Breath of God
Emma Kirkby (soprano) / Gothic Voices
[ Hyperion / CD - released 1/Sep/2010 ]
"These hymns and sequences, most expertly performed and recorded, have excited much acclaim - and rightly so. A lovely CD" Penguin Guide
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...
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
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)
Ravel: Bolero / La Valse / Rapsodie Espagnole / Ma Mere l'Oye / Daphnis et Chloe cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
MAURICE RAVEL
Ravel: Bolero / La Valse / Rapsodie Espagnole / Ma Mere l'Oye / Daphnis et Chloe
Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit
[ Double Decca / 2 CD - released 12/Jul/2000 ]
"Anyone beginning a Ravel collection, or coming fresh to most of this repertoire and willing to duplicate, will find this Double Decca unbeatable value" A Rosette recording - Penguin Stereo Guide
Holst: The Planets cover
add to cart $35.00 In Stock
GUSTAV HOLST
Holst: The Planets
Montreal Symphony Orchestra / Charles Dutoit
[ Decca Records / CD - released 10/Aug/2007 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1901-1950) - "an highly successful version, both rich and brilliant, and recorded with an opulence to outshine almost all rivals. *** Three Stars. Penguin Stereo.
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...
Mozart: Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos / etc (with Schubert - Fantasia in F minor for two pianos) cover
add to cart $20.00 In Stock
W. A. MOZART
Mozart: Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos / etc (with Schubert - Fantasia in F minor for two pianos)
Murray Perahia (piano) Radu Lupu (piano)
[ Sony Originals / CD - released 20/Jul/2011 ]
1001 Classical recordings to hear before you die (1801-1850) - "The performance of Lupu and Perahia is full of haunting poetry, with each of these highly individual artists challenging the other in imagination." (*** Three Stars. Penguin Stereo Guide)
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)
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)
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
Saint-Saens: Piano Concertos Nos 1-5 / Africa Fantasie for piano and orchestra cover
add to cart $60.00 In Stock
CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS
Saint-Saens: Piano Concertos Nos 1-5 / Africa Fantasie for piano and orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano) / City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sakari Oramo
[ Hyperion Romantic Piano Concertos Vol 27 / 2 CD - released 16/Sep/2001 ]
1001 Classical recordings you must hear before you die (1851-1900) -- "This seems to me a spiffing set and pleasurable discoveries and rediscoveries await." (Gramophone)
Falla: El sombrero de tres picos (The Three Cornered Hat) / La Vida Breve: Interlude & Dance [with Debussy - Images] (recorded 1961 & 1962) cover
add to cart $18.00 In Stock
MANUEL de FALLA
Falla: El sombrero de tres picos (The Three Cornered Hat) / La Vida Breve: Interlude & Dance [with Debussy - Images] (recorded 1961 & 1962)
Teresa Berganza (soprano) / L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Ernest Ansermet
[ Decca Australian Eloquence / CD - released 10/Apr/2016 ]
",,not only one of the great recordings of all time, but one of the greatest orchestral pieces written in the early part of the 20th Century...do not miss it!" Mel@Marbecks