Best sounding classical releases?

I’m somewhat a fan of classical music - Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Andre Rieu (lol) and I would love to expand my knowledge of the genre. One of the things I find challenging when searching for releases that I might enjoy is the sheer volume of options available for each composer. What I know I like is music that is well recorded (properly mic’d up),mixed and free from distortion.
With that in mind, could any of you recommend a couple of albums to listen to that might have these qualities? I guess modern recordings would be more appropriate or perhaps something like the Mofi, Craft or Half Speed remastered releases?


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The Deutsche Grammophon Original Masters series are great, but they were limited to between 600 and 1200 pressings of each LP, so they may have sold out.

Have a look at the DG website and for releases that may still be available.

PS. I have looked, and there are quite a few still left. The Gilels Brahms Concertos with the Berlin Phil, for example, is quite outstanding.


Vinyl only?

Not at all, any medium is fine

A recent purchase of mine that sounds great is Dvorak’s Symphonies Nos. 7-9 - the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Christopher Von Dohnanyi. I hadn’t been looking for another recording of these works - I had maybe a half dozen already - but a reliable source described them as one of the 5 best sounding discs in his library. I bit, and it was a good decision.

My go-to recommendation is Rachel Podger playing Vivaldi violin concertos (or pretty much anything on Channel Classics). These are historically informed performances, using instruments and playing styles of the composers’ eras, so the orchestra won’t sound anything like Rachmaininov’s.


A question with an enormous number of possible recommendations. However, most of the modern Chandos, BIS, Channel Classics labelled recordings sound superb. Most recently I recommend the Rachmaninov symphonies recorded on DG by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Nezet-Seguin. If you wish to pinpoint any specific works for which you seek an excellent modern recording, I’m sure members of this forum could offer some tips.


It’s an impossible question to answer. You have to decide what you like yourself. I strongly suggest you should use a streaming service to try things out. It’s by far more important that you like the music than that you marvel at the sound quality.

There’s nowt wrong with seeking a “starter for 10” - the previous users replies have been very helpful. Incidentally, I find that recordings with good SQ are a good gateway to developing an interest in a new genre that I perhaps would otherwise have ignored. Some music I’m immediately drawn to, other stuff takes me a while to understand and appreciate - HQ production helps a lot for me here.

Telarc have now been subsumed into various larger labels and are not really active as a recording entity any more, but from the late 70s to about 2010, they produced a regular stream of awesome quality recordings.

Just picking a couple of their albums is a challenge, but try these:

The Mussorgsky was recorded in 1978, the Verdi in 1987. If you know the classic Mercury Living Presence recordings from a generation earlier, these follow a similar philosophy: minimal miking, minimal fiddling with the signal.

If you think all early digital recordings sounded harsh and brittle, be prepared to have your assumptions fairly heavily challenged.



May i suggest a recording by the Bamberger Symphoniker. I am just listening to the 7. by Dvorak and find it very satisfying.

Greetings to all.



The way he performs that music suits the original performance much more than e.g. Strauss in Viennas New Years concert.


I love watching his concerts. It always looks great fun. My sister, who is profoundly disabled and non-verbal, always reacts with glee when I put him on the TV! I’ve tried her with some other similar stuff that is available on Sky and just get a face of stone - almost as if she’s saying “Geez this is boring! Put Andre back on”.


To be clear, it’s The Original Source series. The limits were 2000-3350, depending on title. I know, because I have them all. None were limited to just 600 copies, or even 1200.

Although the first three batches (of four so far) are mostly sold out, DG Classics has already announced non-numbered represses (and FWIW, I think serial numbers on albums are silly and meaningless). Those are now up for reorder in the usual places with the first batch shipping next month.

Anyway, @graham55 is correct to recommend them. They are a really fantastic selection of great performances remastered with some of the best sonic quality I have heard on classical recordings.

My favorites so far are the Smetana Ma Vlast, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique and Stravinsky Rite of Spring.

I just got the box set of Steinberg/BSO with Strauss Zarathustra, Holst The Planets, and Hindemith Mathis der Mahler Symphony. Strauss Four Last Songs (Karajan) and Tchaikovsky 4th (Abaddo) are en route from Presto, so I will have five new titles I have yet to play, but have heard great things about them, especially Four Last Songs and Mathis der Mahler. I am waiting to remount my Lyra Altas SL on a new 12" tonearm to play it all, probably sometime next week.

Anyway, reviews of all of them by Michael Johnson and/or Mark Ward can be found on Tracking Angle.

Graham will shun me for not mentioning Kleiber’s Beethoven 7…LOL Sorry, dude…It’s a great title, but not yet among my favorites in the series so far. But, they are all fantastic nevertheless. :slight_smile:


I see you ‘liked’ my recommendation of this on another thread too, John. Fabulous isn’t it !
I remember getting the first movement of the 9th played on a very expensive system at a Hi-Fi show (think it was Sonic Frontiers CD player and amp, into big Cabasse speakers). The audience were amazed and thought I’d given the guy some super high quality audiophile disc to play, i.e. Mofi, Reference Recordings etc. They were shocked when I showed them it was just a standard Decca release !


Two excellent sounding discs :smile: :+1:


If you like Hindemith, I recommend Blomstedt on Decca. Fantasic playing, fantastic sound quality…


Two favourite Telarc recordings from my collection, both with very natural, unspotlit recordings:

The second is mainly for Britten’s Young Person’s Guide. Though Peter and the Wolf is also very naturally recoded, you have to be able to tolerate Previn’s narration.



Would concur about the Dohnanyi recording of Dvorak 7-9. Sounds great!

Thanks for all the suggestions so far - I’ve been working my way through some of the releases mentioned, notably seeing what’s available in the DG catalogue, Dvorak’s 7-9 ( :+1: :+1:) and Nezet-Seguin. A particularly enjoyable release for me, featuring the later, was ‘Destination Rachmaninov - Arrival’ played by Daniil Trifonov. I was also rather struck by the quality of Yuja Wang’s recent album ‘Rachmaninoff: The Piano Concertos & Paganini Rhapsody’. A very enjoyable listen!

I’ve got some Rachel Podger lined up for later and will see if I can find a couple more of your suggestions on the streaming platforms.


I just brought it up on Qobuz while I work in my home office this morning. I generally prefer vinyl though. :slight_smile:

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