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Looking for the "Best" recordings of the usual classical favorites.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well, it has been an eye-opener.  I finally have equipment that is revealing just how poor my old "Music Club" Classical CDs really are.  I always suspected they weren't the best, but now I can hear the flaws in the sound quality.  Worse, the arrangements were never great in the first place.


So that being said, what are some good albums to pick up to renew my classical collection.  First I want to find newer/better versions of the usual crowd-pleasers like:

Vivaldi's Four Seasons

Beethoven's 5th

Tchaikovsky's 1812

Bach's Violin 1 and 2, Cello Suite 1

Rossini's William tell Overture

Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries


Then I need to expand into things I haven't heard over and over...



post #2 of 10

Check the link in my sig.

post #3 of 10

I'm not sure about "best" but I've always found that Bernstein is pretty good at those more popular works. His later recordings for DG, with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, are always well recorded, with a lot of detail and transparency. There is a disc of Tchaikovsky including 1812, and another disc with Barber's Adagio, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue etc.


For Bach and Vivaldi, first port of call would probably be Christopher Hogwood with The Academy of Ancient Music, although the sound of an orchestra of authentic instruments may be thinner than you are used to in that repertoire. If you want a "popular" Four Seasons, the Nigel Kennedy recording is very energetic.

post #4 of 10

Verdi's Requiem by Georg Solti and the Vienna Phil with Sutherland, Pavarotti and pals is pretty good in my opinion:

(UK Link) http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000GUJZVE/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1308417937&sr=8-8

post #5 of 10

Vivaldi - Four Seasons - I Musici.jpg



Karajan's Beethoven symphony box set:



post #6 of 10
I started with the Karajan 63 Beethoven symphonies too. But somehow I keep coming back to the Bohm set. Both Bohm's Beethoven cycle and his Mozart symphonies seem especially beautiful to me.
post #7 of 10

I would really recommend Yo-Yo Ma's "Bach: The six Unaccompanied Cello Suites".  It can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Six-Unaccompanied-Cello-Suites/dp/B0000025QM

post #8 of 10

Not as popular as, say, Bach or Brahms, but Bruckner is the MAN.  I love the Karajan recordings.  I play bass trombone at my university, and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 Mvt. IV always makes my hair stand on end.

post #9 of 10

a bit of research in this forum will allow you to make some informed choices, but here are my faves:


Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Alessandrini/Concerto Italiano

Beethoven's 5th (and 7th): Kleiber/Wiener Phil

Tchaikovsky's 1812: not my cup of tea, sorry

Bach's Violin 1 and 2: I assume you want the violin concertos? If so Podger/Manze/AAM is the one to have. Podger is a great choice also for the Violin partitas (solo violin)

Bach Cello Suite 1: Fournier

Rossini's William tell Overture: Abbado/Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries: I guess you want one of this "Wagner without words" anthologies. I have and like Szell/Cleveland

post #10 of 10
I agree with Calaf and I would add that Dorati's 1812 Overture on Mercury's Living Presence series is a show stopper. Play it loud for the 4th of July!
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