RECOMMENDED CLASSICAL CDs
This is my own personal list of the best classical CDs available. Those marked with a “+” are either those I’ve already added to my collection or have heard and can highly recommend. I’ve compiled this list through a select survey of the last several years of Gramophone’s Classical Good CD Guide and The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs, as well as advice from classical music lovers I trust (thanks to J. D. McClatchy for his opera selections for a desert island and to Donald Revell for heating up my interest in Ives). All in all, I’ve found that Gramophone has consistently offered good advice (i.e. their critics seem to have tastes which coincide with mine). Formerly, they adopted a rating system, “one, two or three Gs,” that was applied to releases which the reviewers considered to be recordings of particular distinction, “having attained or deserving to attain classic status.” You’ll find these top albums listed below, along with their older accolades of “p” for a particularly sterling performance or “s” for outstanding sound. Visit the Gramophone website for their most current listings of recommended CDs..
Key to symbols
G - GG - GGG - Gramophone’s symbol(s) of excellence
Because I’m constantly updating this list, and cutting and pasting from Microsoft Word, it’s not practical to add and re-add some navigational buttons like “Top of Page” or alphabetical hot spots as I have on other pages. Please use the Control-F command in Internet Explorer or Firefox to search by composer or piece or other criteria. Since this is a personal list, please forgive the typos.
Use the Alphabetic Table here, or the beginning of each page, to find a composer whose last name begins with that letter. Under GEN, I list recordings that don’t feature any one in particular.