Browse Topics

Services

Programs

The PT 50

NPR's Performance Today presents its list of fifty essential classical music CDs, selected by classical music critic and PT commentator Ted Libbey.

Titles link to Libbey's Performance Today features on each CD; links to CD purchase pages provide an opportunity to support NPR through our partnerships with The Public Radio Music Source and amazon.com.

View a printer-friendly PT 50 page

A     B     C     D     E     G     H     J

L     M     O     P     R     S     T     V     W


Adams: "The Chairman Dances"
CD cover of 'Adams:

San Francisco Symphony
Edo de Waart, conductor
Nonesuch 79144

Purchase this CD


J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 - 6
CD cover of 'J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 - 6'

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Harmonia Mundi HMX 2901634.35 (2-CD set)

Purchase this CD


J.S. Bach: "Goldberg" Variations, BWV 988
CD cover of 'J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988'

Murray Perahia, piano
Sony Classical SK/SM 89243

Purchase this CD


J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232
CD cover of 'J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232'

Collegium Vocale/La Chapelle Royale
Phillipe Herreweghe, conductor
Harmonia Mundi HMX 2908110.12

Purchase this CD


Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
CD cover of 'Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra'

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fritz Reiner, conductor
RCA Victor 61504

Purchase this CD


Beethoven: The String Quartets
CD cover of 'Beethoven: The String Quartets'

Emerson String Quartet
Deutsche Grammophon 447 075-2

Purchase this CD


Beethoven: Piano Sonatas
CD cover of 'Beethoven: Piano Sonatas'

Emile Gilels, piano
Deutsche Grammophon 419 162-2

Purchase this CD


Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
CD cover for 'Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67' from the Vienna Philharmonic

Vienna Philharmonic, Carlos Kleiber, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 447 400-2

Purchase this CD


Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique
CD cover of 'Bernstein: Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique'

London Symphony Orchestra, led by Sir Colin Davis
Sony/Columbia Broadway Masterworks SK 60724

Purchase this CD


Bernstein: West Side Story
CD cover of 'Bernstein: West Side Story'

Original Broadway Cast Recording
Sony/Columbia Broadway Masterworks SK 60724

Purchase this CD


Brahms: A German Requiem
CD cover of 'Brahms: A German Requiem'

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, conductor
EMI Classics 7243 566903 2 5

Purchase this CD


Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
CD cover of 'Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98'

Vienna Philharmonic
Carlos Kleiber, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 457 706-2

Purchase this CD


Brahms: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 77
CD cover of 'Brahms: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 77'

Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
New York Philharmonic, Kurt Masur, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 457 075-2

Purchase this CD


Chopin: Ballades and Scherzi
CD cover of 'Chopin: Ballades and Scherzi'

Arthur Rubinstein, piano
The Rubinstein Collection, Vol. 45
BMG/RCA Victor 63045-2

Purchase this CD


Copland: Appalacian Spring
CD cover of 'Copland: Appalacian Spring'

San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
Copland the Populist -- RCA 09026-63511-2

Purchase this CD


Debussy: La Mer
CD cover of 'Debussy: La Mer'

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch, conductor
RCA Victor 61500

Purchase this CD


Debussy: Piano Preludes, Books I & II
CD cover of 'Debussy: Piano Preludes, Books I & II'

Paul Jacobs, piano
Elektra/Asylum 79474

Purchase this CD


Dowland: Complete Lute Works, Volume 3
CD cover of 'Dowland: Complete Lute Works, Volume 3'

Paul O'Dette, lute Harmonia Mundi 907162

Purchase this CD


Dvorák: Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104
CD cover of 'Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104'

Mstislav Rostropovich, cello
Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 447 413-2

Purchase this CD


Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95
CD cover of 'Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95'

London Symphony Orchestra, István Kertész, conductor
Penguin Classics 460604

Purchase this CD


Elgar: Cello Concerto and Sea Pictures
CD cover of 'Elgar: Cello Concerto and Sea Pictures'

Jacqueline du Pré, cello; Janet Baker, mezzo-soprano
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli, conductor
EMI CDC 556219 2

Purchase this CD


Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
CD cover of 'Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue'

Leonard Bernstein, piano/conductor
Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Sony Classical 42264

Purchase this CD


Handel: Messiah
CD cover of 'Handel: Messiah'

English Baroque Soloists/Monteverdi Choir
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
Philips 434297 (2-CD set)

Purchase this CD


Handel: Water Music Suites
CD cover of 'Handel: Water Music Suites'

English Baroque Soloists
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
UNI/Philips 464706

Purchase this CD


Haydn: "London" Symphonies
CD cover of 'Haydn: 'London' Symphonies'

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam
Sir Colin Davis, conductor
UNI/Philips 464707

Purchase this CD


Holst: The Planets, Op. 32
CD cover of 'Holst: The Planets, Op. 32'

Philharmonia Orchestra/The Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 445 860-2

Purchase this CD


Vladimir Horowitz: The Historic Return
CD cover of 'Vladimir Horowitz: The Historic Return'

Carengie Hall 1965
Sony Classical 53461

Purchase this CD


Josquin de Prés: Missa Pange Lingua
CD cover of 'Josquin: Missa Pange Lingua'

The Tallis Scholars
Peter Phillips, director
Gimell CDGIM009

Purchase this CD


Liszt: Sonata, Ballades and Polonaises
CD cover of 'Liszt: Sonata, Ballades and Polonaises'

Stephen Hough, piano
Hyperion 67085

Purchase this CD


Mahler: Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection"
CD cover of 'Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

The New York Philharmonic
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Polygram 423395

Purchase this CD


Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture Op.21
CD cover of 'Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream'

London Symphony Orchestra, Peter Maag, conductor
Jenifer Vyvyan, soprano and Marion Lowe, soprano
Decca Legends 466 990

Purchase this CD


Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine
CD cover of 'Monteverdi: <i>Vespro della Beata Vergine'

Monteverdi Choir/London Oratory Junior Choir
His Majesties Sagbutts & Cornetts/English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
Archiv 429 565
Purchase this CD


Mozart: The Magic Flute
CD cover of 'Mozart: The Magic Flute'

Berlin Philharmonic, RIAS Chamber Chorus
Karl Böhm, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 449 749-2 (2-CD set)

Purchase this CD


Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 6, 17 & 21
CD cover of 'Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 6, 17 & 21'

Géza Anda, piano/conductor
Camerata Academica of Salzburg
Deutsche Grammophon 447 436-2

Purchase this CD


Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35-41
CD cover of 'Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 35-41'

Berlin Philharmonic
Karl Böhm, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 447 416-2

Purchase this CD


Orff: Carmina Burana
CD cover of 'Orff: Carmina Burana'

Chor und Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Eugen Jochum, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 447 437-2

Purchase this CD


Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet
CD cover of 'Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet'

The Cleveland Orchestra
Lorin Maazel, conductor
Decca 452970

Purchase this CD


Puccini: La Bohème
CD cover of 'Puccini: La Boheme'

The Columbus Boychoir
RCA Victor Chorus & Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor
EMI Classics 7243 567750 2 (2CD)

Purchase this CD


Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2
CD cover of 'Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe'

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Jean Martinon, conductor
RCA 63683

Purchase this CD


Schubert: String Quintet in C, D. 956
CD cover of 'Schubert: String Quintet in C, D. 956'

Emerson String Quartet
Mstislav Rostropovich, cello
Deutsche Grammophon 431 792-2

Purchase this CD


Schubert: Winterreise
CD cover of 'Schubert: <i>Winterreise'

Thomas Quasthoff, bass-baritone
Charles Spencer, piano
RCA 09026 63147 2

Purchase this CD


Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47
CD cover of 'Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47'

New York Philharmonic
Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Sony Classical 61841

Purchase this CD


Sibelius: Symphonies 5 & 7
CD cover of 'Sibelius: Symphonies 5 & 7'

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis, conductor
Philips 289 464 740-2

Purchase this CD


Strauss: Four Last Songs
CD cover of 'Strauss: Four Last Songs'

Jessye Norman, soprano
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Kurt Masur, conductor
Philips 464742

Purchase this CD


Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
CD cover of 'Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring'

Kirov Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, conductor
Philips 289 468 035-2PH

Purchase this CD


Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23
CD cover of 'Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23'

Van Cliburn, piano
RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, Kiril Kondrashin, conductor
RCA Victor 078635055912

Purchase this CD


Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4, 5 & 6
CD cover of 'Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4, 5 & 6'

Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Evgeny Mravinsky, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 419 745-2

Purchase this CD


Verdi: Messa da Requiem
CD cover of 'Verdi: Messa da Requiem'

Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
EMI CMS 5 67560 2

Purchase this CD


Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
CD cover of 'Vivaldi: The Four Seasons'

Giuliano Carmignola, baroque violin
Venice Baroque Orchestra, Andrea Marcon, Music Director
Sony Classical SK 51352

Purchase this CD


Wagner: Overtures and Preludes
CD cover of 'Wagner: Overtures and Preludes'

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Teldec 4509 99595 2

Purchase this CD





   
   
   
null