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 101 to 120 of 246

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Barber / Walton: Violin Concertos (with Bloch's Baal Shem) cover
add to cart $17.00 Low Stock
SAMUEL BARBER / WILLIAM WALTON
Barber / Walton: Violin Concertos (with Bloch's Baal Shem)
Joshua Bell (violin) / Baltimore Symphony / David Zinman
[ Decca Originals / CD - released 20/Aug/2006 ]
1998 Gramophone Concerto Winner - "Bell's passionate playing in the Barber, full of tender poetry, is well matched by the excellent orchestra, ripely and brilliantly recorded."
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
Early Cantatas, Opferlied & Meeresstille cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
BEETHOVEN
Early Cantatas, Opferlied & Meeresstille
Judith Howarth, Janice Watson, Jean Rigby, John Mark Ainsley, Jose Van Dam / Corydon Singers & Orchestra, Matthew Best
[ Hyperion Helios / CD - released 28/Aug/2014 ]
'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 $20.00 Out of Stock
2-6 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
2-6 weeks
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)
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade (with Borodin - In the Steppes of Central Asia & Balakirev - Islamey) cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
The Nutcracker (Complete ballet on one CD) cover
add to cart $31.50 Low Stock
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
2-6 weeks
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 $22.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
JOHANNES BRAHMS
Brahms: 3 Violin Sonatas
Krysia Osostowicz (violin) Susan Tomes (piano)
[ Hyperion Helios / 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 $32.00 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
2-6 weeks
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
Bruch: Violin Concerto / Scottish Fantasy cover
add to cart $17.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
MAX BRUCH
Bruch: Violin Concerto / Scottish Fantasy
Kyung-Wha Chung (violin) / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rudolf Kempe
[ Decca Virtuoso / CD - released 27/Oct/2011 ]
"Kyung-Wha Chung is a formidable player. She has a bold attack which springs from absolute security of intonation...the sound of the lyrical passages especially is consistently bright and rich, tonally integrated from top to bottom and of a really...
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)
Musical Offering (Musikalisches Opfer) BWV1079 cover
add to cart $32.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
J. S. BACH
Musical Offering (Musikalisches Opfer) BWV1079
Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall
[ Alia Vox / CD - released 30/Dec/2005 ]
"One is occasionally fortunate enough to come across a new recording of a great work, and a personal favourite, that is so good that all other recordings pale in comparison. A recording that is not only played and recorded impeccably, but also one...
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 'Eroica' / Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 cover
add to cart $37.00 Low Stock
LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 'Eroica' / Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall
[ Alia Vox SACD / Hybrid SACD - released 25/May/2016 ]
"the end-result has been amongst the most impressive demonstrations of believable surround-sound I have heard." Recording of the Month MusicWeb (May 2016)
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Grieg: Lyric Pieces cover
add to cart $20.00 Low Stock
EDWARD GRIEG
MARBECKS COLLECTABLE: Grieg: Lyric Pieces
Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)
[ EMI / Warner Classics / CD - released 3/Mar/2002 ]
GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER 2002 - Instrumental
Piano Sonatas Nos 24, 30, 32, 33 & 34 cover
add to cart $26.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
HAYDN
Piano Sonatas Nos 24, 30, 32, 33 & 34
Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)
[ EMI Music / CD - released 11/Jan/2002 ]
Rosette (Highest Rating) Penguin Stereo Guide
Violin Concerto (Original & Final Versions) cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
SIBELIUS
Violin Concerto (Original & Final Versions)
Leonidas Kavakos (violin) / Lahti Symphony Orchestra / Osmo Vanska
[ BIS / CD - released 1/Oct/2013 ]
"This disc offers an invaluable insight into the workings of Sibelius's mind.." (Gramophone)