The Best Classical Music Albums of All Time

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

A list of the best classical music albums of all time, including works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and more.

Best Overall Classical Albums

Here are some of the best classical music albums of all time. These recordings represent the genre at its finest, and they are essential for any classical music lover’s collection.

Bach: The Goldberg Variations

Throughout his career, Bach was constantly revising and perfecting his compositions. The Goldberg Variations, written in 1741, were no exception. Bach originally wrote the work for harpsichord, but it has since been adapted for piano and other instruments.

The Goldberg Variations are a set of 30 variations on a theme. The theme itself is relatively simple, but Bach uses it as a starting point for some of the most complex and beautiful music ever written. The variations range from delicate and contemplative to exuberant and virtuosic, and they show off Bach’s incredible mastery of counterpoint and harmony.

This album features pianist András Schiff’s acclaimed performance of the Goldberg Variations. Schiff is one of the world’s leading interpreters of Bach’s music, and his performance of the Goldberg Variations is widely considered to be one of the best recordings of the work.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9

The “Choral” Symphony is not only one of the greatest works in the classical repertoire, but it is one of the most popular symphonies of all time. This recording by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic is widely considered to be one of the best ever made. Bernstein’s conducting is passionate and energetic, and the performance by the New York Philharmonic is simply impeccable. If you’re looking for a recording of Beethoven’s 9th that you can listen to over and over again, this is the one.

Mozart: Requiem

Mozart’s Requiem is one of the most popular pieces of classical music ever written, and this album by conductor Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields is considered one of the best recordings of it. The Requiem was left unfinished at Mozart’s death, and Marriner chose to use a completion by Mozart’s student Franz Xaver Sussmayr that is believed to be faithful to Mozart’s vision. The result is a stirring performance that has become a staple of classical music fans’ collections.

Best Opera Albums

Verdi: Aida

One of the most popular operas ever written, Aida is a story of star-crossed lovers that has been told countless times on stage and screen. This definitive recording features some of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century, including Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, and Giuseppe Dindo. Conducted by Herbert von Karajan, this is an essential recording for any opera lover.

Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen

This legendary album is one of the most famous and influential classical music albums of all time. It features Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest operas ever written. The album was recorded in 1963 and features the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch.

Puccini: Turandot

One of the most popular opera albums of all time, this recording of Puccini’s “Turandot” features Maria Callas in the title role. The album also includes performances by Tito Gobbi, Giuseppe Modesti, and Nicola Zaccaria.

Best Choral Albums

If you’re a fan of choral music, then you’re in for a treat. In this article, we’ll be discussing the best choral albums of all time. This list includes albums from a variety of genres and styles, so there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of the Renaissance or Baroque period, or you prefer more modern choral music, you’re sure to find an album on this list that you’ll love.

Bach: Mass in B minor

This album from the Bach Collegium Japan, led by conductor Masaaki Suzuki, is widely considered to be one of the best recordings of Bach’s Mass in B minor. The work is performed with feeling and passion, and the sound quality is excellent.

Handel: Messiah

For many people, the arrival of the holiday season means it’s time to pull out the Handel: Messiah album and enjoy some of the best classical music ever written. First performed in 1742, Messiah is one of the most popular and well-loved pieces of classical music, and has been recorded by countless artists over the years.

There are so many great recordings of Messiah available, it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re looking for a recommendations, here are ten of the best Handel: Messiah albums ever recorded.

1. George Frideric Handel – Handel: Messiah (1742)

This is the original recording of Handel’s Messiah, and it’s still one of the best. Conducted by Sir Neville Marriner and performed by The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, this recording is notable for its use of period instruments, which gives it a more authentic sound than some modern recordings.

2. Herbert von Karajan – Handel: Messiah (1975)

This recording by Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker is widely considered to be one of the finest ever made. Von Karajan was a legendary conductor, and he brings all his expertise to bear on this recording, which features some of the most outstanding performers of the time, including Teresa Stratas and Jon Vickers.

3. John Eliot Gardiner – Handel: Messiah (1998)

This is another excellent recording that uses period instruments, this time conducted by John Eliot Gardiner and performed by The Monteverdi Choir. Gardiner’s interpretation is lively and vibrant, making for a very enjoyable listening experience.

4. Colin Davis – Handel: Messiah (2006)
Run time: 2 hours 53 minutes | Label: LSO Live | Year: 2006 | Number of discs: 1 | Performed by The London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus conducted by Colin Davis | Soloists: Margaret Marshall (soprano), Helen Donath (alto), James McCracken (tenor), David Ward (bass)

This less well-known recording from 2006 features an all-star cast of soloists, including Margaret Marshall, Helen Donath, James McCracken, and David Ward. It’s conducted by Colin Davis with The London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, and offers a superb performance that’s well worth seeking out.

5. Nikolaus Harnoncourt – Handel: Messiah (2012)

This interpretation from 2012 features Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting The Concentus Musicus Wien & Wiener Singverein. It takes a slightly different approach to other recordings on this list, with shorter renditions of some of the choruses and arias that help to make it more accessible for modern listeners.

6. Trevor Pinnock – Handel: Messiah (2016)

This 2016 recording features Trevor Pinnock conducting The English Concert & Choir Of The English Concert with soloists Hilary Summers (alto), Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Tobias Berndt (bass). It’s notable for its use of original instruments fromHandel’s time period , which gives it a very authentic sound .

7 . André Previn – Handel: Messiah (1977)

This 1977 recording features André Previn conducting The London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus with soloists Dame Janet Baker , Frederica von Stade , John Shirley-Quirk , Hakim Boularbah . It ’ s a classic performance that has stood the test of time , and remains oneofthe best available recordings .

8 . Neville Marriner – Handel :Messiah(1979 )

Another excellent older recording , this 1979 version features Neville Marriner conducting The Academy Of St Martin – In -The – Fields with soloists Frederica von Stade , Arleen Augér , Paul Esswood , Philip Langridge . It has a lightnessand elegance that makes it very easy onthe ear .

9 . John Rutter –Handel :Messiah( 1982 )

This 1982 interpretation from conductor John RutterandThe Cambridge Singers offers something different from other versions onthis list , with Rutter ’ s ownwhich give italian Renaissance flavor arrangements complementingHandeland making for an unusual but very tasty listening experience indeed .

Haydn: The Creation

One of the best choral albums of all time, Haydn’s The Creation is a masterfully composed oratorio that has stood the test of time. Featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, this album is a must-have for any classical music fan.

Best Orchestral Albums

If you’re looking for the best classical music albums of all time, you’ve come to the right place. In this list, we’ll be taking a look at the greatest orchestral albums ever made. From Bach to Beethoven, we’ll be discussing some of the most influential classical music ever composed.

Brahms: Symphony No. 4

This Brahms symphony is one of the finest examples of the genre, and it is certainly among the best of his four symphonies. The work was composed in 1884, just a few years before Brahms’ death, and it is imbued with a deep sense of introspection and melancholy. The opening movement is slow and somber, with long stretches of beautiful melody. The second movement is more upbeat, but still has a wistful quality to it. The third movement is light and airy, while the fourth movement is triumphant and uplifting. This album features conductor Claudio Abbado leading the Berlin Philharmonic in a stirring performance of the work.

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9

One of the most popular and beloved symphonies of all time, Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony is a must-have for any classical music fan. Featuring some of the most beautiful and emotive melodies ever written, this work has been captivating audiences for over a century. The 9th Symphony is also one of the most frequently performed works in the orchestral repertoire, making it a perfect choice for any concert-goer.

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6

One of the most popular and recognizable classical pieces, Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 6” is a must-have for any music lover. This timeless work features some of the most beautiful and moving melodies ever composed, and is sure to please listeners of all ages.

Best Solo Instrumental Albums

If you’re looking for the best solo instrumental albums of all time, look no further. In this article, we’ll be discussing the top 10 albums of all time. These albums are the perfect way to get started with classical music, or to deepen your appreciation for the genre.

Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier

There are few classical music albums more iconic or influential than Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. First published in 1722, the work consists of two books of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys. It’s widely regarded as one of the most important works of Western classical music, and has been endlessly influential on composers ever since.

This particular recording, by Glenn Gould, is one of the most famous and well-loved versions of The Well-Tempered Clavier. Gould’s recordings of Bach are always beautiful and expressive, but there’s something about his interpretations of this work in particular that is just special. If you’re looking for a place to start with Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, or if you’re just looking for a beautiful recording of one of the greatest works of Western classical music, then this is the album for you.

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas

1. Beethoven: Piano Sonatas is a compilation album of piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven, released in 2000.
2. The album features performances by Wilhelm Kempff, Clifford Curzon, and Daniel Barenboim.
3. It won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Solo Instrumental Album.

Chopin: Preludes

Chopin: Preludes is a solo piano album by Polish composer Frédéric Chopin, released in 2010. The album features 24 preludes composed by Chopin between 1834 and 1839. It is widely considered to be one of the best solo instrumental albums of all time.

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