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 233

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Mozart: Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos / etc (with Schubert - Fantasia in F minor for two pianos) cover
add to cart $20.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
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)
Rigoletto (Complete Opera recorded in 1985) cover
add to cart $31.50 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
VERDI
Rigoletto (Complete Opera recorded in 1985)
Neil Shicoff, Renata Bruson, Edita Gruberova / Santa Cecilia Acad. / Sinopoli
[ Decca Grand Opera / 2 CD - released 20/Jun/2012 ]
American tenor Neil Shicoff as the Duke heads up a starry cast which also includes one of the great Italian Verdi baritones as Rigoletto, Renato Bruson
This is Leonard Bernstein: His Greatest Recordings cover
add to cart $85.00 Low Stock
GERSHWIN / GROFE / HAYDN / BEETHOVEN / STRAVINSKY / BERNSTEIN / MAHLER
This is Leonard Bernstein: His Greatest Recordings
Rudolf Serkin, Lukas Foss (pianos), Original Broadway Cast, Dietrich Fischer Dieskau (baritone) / New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
[ Sony Classical / 16 CD Box Set - released 1/Nov/2009 ]
This special edition collects the conductor-composer's 15 most celebrated original albums from the 1950s and 60s on 16 CDs. The best selection of his benchmark recordings as a conductor, composer and pianist.
Lilburn: The Three Symphonies cover
add to cart $23.00 Low 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 Low Stock
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'.
Piano Concertos cover
add to cart $35.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
GRIEG / PROKOFIEV
Piano Concertos
Nikolai Lugansky (piano) Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Kent Nagano
[ Ambroisie Naive / CD - released 20/Feb/2014 ]
"in the Grieg Concerto he is as rhapsodic and affectionate as he is masterly...In the Prokofiev...his performance blazes with conviction, a propulsion and energy finely complemented wth an innate sense of poetry...In a market place where great record
L'Arlesienne & Carmen Suites / Symphony in C / La Jolie fille de Perth cover
add to cart $30.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
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)
Water Music / Royal Fireworks Music cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
HANDEL
Water Music / Royal Fireworks Music
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
[ DG Entree / CD - released 15/Jan/2005 ]
"This is joyously irresistible. It is like listening to this marvellous music for the very first time." Rosette Penguin Stereo Guide
Overtures / Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet cover
add to cart $25.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
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
2-6 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
2-6 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...
Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 4 cover
add to cart $30.00 Low Stock
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)
Cantatas for solo bass (BWV 56, 82, 158) cover
add to cart $21.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
J.S. BACH
Cantatas for solo bass (BWV 56, 82, 158)
Peter Kooy (bass) La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe
[ Harmonia Mundi musique d'abord / CD - released 4/Apr/2005 ]
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
2-6 weeks
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 Low 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 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.
Ritrovato (Puccini rediscovered) cover
add to cart $31.50 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
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 $23.00 Out of Stock
2-6 weeks
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