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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Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 13 / Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 cover
add to cart $35.00 Low 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
Schmidt - Complete Symphonies cover
add to cart $40.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
FRANZ SCHMIDT
Schmidt - Complete Symphonies
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi
[ Deutsche Grammophon / 3 CD - released 5/Feb/2021 ]
GRAMOPHONE Award WINNER 2021 - Orchestral
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
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
Kreek: The Suspended Harp of Babel cover
add to cart $40.00 In Stock
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
Korngold: Violin Concerto / String Sextet cover
add to cart $30.00 Low 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
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 Orliński / 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
Brahms: The Final Piano Pieces cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
JOHANNES BRAHMS
Brahms: The Final Piano Pieces
Stephen Hough (piano)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 31/Jan/2020 ]
"'One of the finest accounts of Brahms's late piano works on record, one that stands head and shoulders above most contenders in an ever-growing catalogue." Gramophone Awards 2020 Short List - Instrumental
Ravel: Jeux de Miroirs cover
add to cart $35.00 Low Stock
MAURICE RAVEL
Ravel: Jeux de Miroirs
Javier Perianes (piano) / Orchestre de Paris, Josep Pons
[ Harmonia Mundi / CD - released 29/Nov/2019 ]
"I loved this disc. The music is wonderful; within this programme we experience Ravel as poet, sophisticate, wit and, always, as the master craftsman." MusicWeb Recommended Feb 2020
Tchaikovsky & Babajanian: Piano Trio cover
add to cart $35.00 Low Stock
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
Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (rec 1964-65) [CD set plus Blu-ray audio] cover
add to cart $95.00 Low 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
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...
Beethoven: Triple Concerto / Choral Fantasy cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
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.
Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonatas cover
add to cart $15.00 Low Stock
DOMENICO SCARLATTI
Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonatas
Mikhail Pletnev (piano)
[ Erato Classics Red Line / CD - released 15/Oct/2018 ]
"Pletnev establishes a firm pianistic approach...The performances throughout are in the very front rank." Penguin Guide, 2011 edition
The Gounod Edition: Operas, Choral Works, Symphonies cover
add to cart $84.00 Low 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 ]
Among the recordings in this 15-CD edition are star-studded complete recordings of three of his operas, with Faust additionally represented by highlights from its German version, Margarethe.
Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Complete Opera recorded in 1967) cover
add to cart $20.00 Low 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)
Debussy: Songs 4 cover
add to cart $30.00 Low Stock
CLAUDE DEBUSSY
Debussy: Songs 4
Lucy Crowe (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano) with Jennifer France (soprano) & Christopher Maltman (baritone)
[ Hyperion / CD - released 2/Mar/2018 ]
"In wonderful voice throughout, Crowe very much makes this repertory her own. Ascents into the stratospheres are all beautifully and securely accomplished, and those long melismas are tautly controlled and always expressive, never vacuous" Gramophone
Bach: Missae Breves (Lutheran Masses) - BWV233, BWV234, BWV235 and BWV236 cover
add to cart $32.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
J. S. BACH
Bach: Missae Breves (Lutheran Masses) - BWV233, BWV234, BWV235 and BWV236
Cantus Colln / Konrad Junghanel
[ Harmonia Mundi Gold / 2 CD - released 1/Mar/2018 ]
"Konrad Junghänel brings finesse and clarity to the music, but there is also plenty of excitement… Cantus Cölln's unity of approach between voices and instruments is outstanding." BBC Music Magazine, October 2008
Schnittke / Pärt: Choral Works cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
ALFRED SCHNITTKE / ARVO PART
Schnittke / Pärt: Choral Works
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Kaspars Putniņš
[ BIS SACD / Hybrid SACD - released 15/Dec/2017 ]
"This work has been waiting for choirs able to do this, because the technical challenges are not the most important thing about this music" Gramophone Award WINNER 2018 - Choral
Saint-Saëns: Organ Symphony / Carnival of the Animals cover
add to cart $25.00 Low Stock
CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS
Saint-Saëns: Organ Symphony / Carnival of the Animals
Martha Argerich (piano) Antonio Pappano (piano) Daniele Rossi (organ) / Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
[ Warner Classics / CD - released 25/Sep/2017 ]
Martha Argerich and Antonio Pappano (as pianist rather than conductor) lead the fun in Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals with Members of the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.