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A List of All-Time Great Recordings


Patrick C Waller
I have just reviewed the list below and my reaction was – “what no Delius, Martinů or Beethoven 9?” There were some hard choices indeed. I could easily have chosen a list about twice as long but these are the 50 odd recordings that are particularly special to me and cover most of my favourite music - the least I feel I could survive on. I have multiple versions of most of these works but really should be getting rid of the others because I nearly always choose to play the ones given below. I did try to pick specific pieces rather than box sets but didn’t have to make almost impossible choices amongst the Sibelius and Vaughan Williams symphonies - the individual works in these sets aren’t available separately.

Albeniz Iberia Suite Alicia De Larrocha rec. 1986 Decca 4178872

Albinoni Oboe Concertos Op. 7 Heinz Holliger/I Musici DG 4271112  

M Arnold Symphonies 2 & 5 Bournemouth SO/Sir Charles Groves, CBSO/composer EMI 63368

Bach Well Tempered Clavier Books I & II Angela Hewitt Hyperion CDS44291-4

Bach Cello Suites Pablo Casals EMI 5626112 **

Bach St Matthew Passion Gabrieli Consort & Players/Paul McCreesh Archiv 4742002

Bantock Omar Khayyám BBC SO & Ch/Vernon Handley Chandos CHSA5051

Beethoven Symphony 3 Philharm O/Otto Klemperer rec. 1959 EMI 5677402

Beethoven String Quartet 13 Lindsay Qt ASV CDDCA602

Beethoven Hammerklavier Sonata Solomon EMI 4768652

Bernstein Candide London SO & Ch/composer DG 4744722

Brahms Symphony 2 London PO/Sir Adrian Boult EMI 69819

Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem Philharm O/Otto Klemperer EMI 5669032

Bruckner Symphony 4 Vienna PO/Karl Bohm Decca 4758403

Bruckner Symphony 8 Berlin PO/Gunter Wand rec. 2001 RCA 74321828662

Bruckner Symphony 9 Columbia SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1959 Sony 5188122

Canteloube Songs of the Auvergne Netania Davrath  Vanguard Classics ATMCD1189

Chopin Nocturnes Artur Rubinstein RCA 09026630492

Chopin Waltzes Dinu Lipatti EMI 5669042

Debussy Orchestral Music Concertgebouw O/Bernard Haitink Philips 4387422

Dvořák Cello Concerto Mstislav Rostropovich, London PO/Carlo Maria Giulini EMI 3582319

Elgar Violin Concerto, Enigma Variations Yehudi Menuhin, London SO/composer EMI 5669792 **

Elgar Dream of Gerontius Janet Baker, Halle O/Sir John Barbirolli EMI 7631852

Faure Complete Piano Music Kathryn Stott Hyperion CDA66911-4

Gershwin Porgy and Bess Willard White, London PO/Sir Simon Rattle EMI 4768362

Haydn Symphonies 99-104 Royal PO/Sir Thomas Beecham EMI 5855132

Lieberson Neruda Songs Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Boston SO/James Levine Nonesuch 7559799542

Liszt Piano Concertos & Sonata Sviatoslav Richter, London SO/Kiril Kondrashin
Philips 4462002 *

Mahler Symphony 10 Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle EMI 5569722

Mahler Das Lied von der Erde Kathleen Ferrier, Vienna PO/Bruno Walter Decca 4665762 **

Mahler Ruckert Lieder Janet Baker, New PO/Sir John Barbirolli EMI 5669812

Mozart Piano Concerto 27, Double Concerto Emil Gilels, Vienna PO/Bohm DG 4190592

Mozart Clarinet Concerto & Quintet Thea King, English CO, Gabrieli Qt Hyperion CDA66199

Mozart Cosi fan Tutte Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Walter Berry, Phil O/Karl Bohm EMI 5673822

Nielsen Symphonies 1 & 5 Danish State RSO/Thomas Jensen Dutton CDLXT502 *

Puccini La Bohème Victoria de Los Angeles, Jussi Björling, RCA Victor SO/Sit Thomas Beecham EMI 5677502

Puccini Tosca Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, la Scala O/Victor de Sabata rec. 1953 EMI 5628902 **

Rachmaninov Piano Concertos Stephen Hough, Dallas SO/Andrew Litton Hyperion CDA67501/2

D Scarlatti Sonatas Andreas Staier Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 82876673752

Schubert String Quintet Hollywood Qt Testament SBT1031

Schubert Piano Sonatas Radu Lupu Decca 4757074

Schubert Complete song cycles Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau DG 4372352

Shostakovich Symphonies 1 & 5 Czech PO/Karel Ancerl Supraphon SU36992

Sibelius Symphonies 1-7 London SO/Anthony Collins Beulah 14PD8

R Strauss Metamorphosen, Four Last Songs Gundula Janowitz, Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan DG 4474222

Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4-6 Leningrad PO/Evgeny Mravinsky DG 4775911

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 1-9 London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1950s Decca 4732412 **

Verdi La traviata Angeli Gheorghiu, Royal Opera House O/Solti Decca 4481192

Wagner Tristan und Isolde Kirsten Flagstad, Phil O/Wilhelm Furtwangler EMI 5676212

Wagner Der Ring des Nibelungen Bayreuth Festival O/Daniel Barenboim Warner 2564623172

Wagner Parsifal Bayreuth Festival O/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1962 Philips 4647562


The recording date is given where I am aware that the artist cited made more than one recording of the work
* Does not seem to be currently available as coupled – a previous catalogue number is given
** Historic recordings which are available on more than one label; I have cited the version I know but it may be available in another transfer, and possibly more cheaply






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