Classic recording review

With so many classic recordings available from Tidal and other streaming sites, what do folks use to choose a particular recording over an alternative for the same piece? Back in the days of CDs, I bought the Penguin Guide to Classical CDs. But that seems not to have been updated since 2010. Hence my question.


It’s an obvious answer, but Google for me. I’ve not got a great deal of knowledge on classical music so I can’t judge how effective my “strategy” is. Googling “Beethoven 9th symphony best recordings” for example, throws up a few lists. To make up for my lack of classical smarts I aggregate the top four or five and look for recordings that feature on several lists. Opinions on recording quality and tempo are most reliable as they’re fairly objective.

I hope this helps, I appreciate it’s a pretty naive approach.

ya, Penguin was a great guide building my classical library back in the day!

I do have a Gramophone Magazine subscription since almost forever (digital version these days of course) which provides some good guidance and/or suggestions - and then I just let my ears judge when I listen to new stuff :wink:

Not sure if you can get this outside of the UK but I’ve found the BBC Radio 3 building a record library and reviews of the week’s releases to be pretty reliable.

There is also a shortened version as a podcast “Record Review”.

1 Like

Thanks for all the suggestions. I ordered this off Amazon:

The Penguin Guide to the 1000 Finest Classical Recordings: The Must-Have CDs and DVDsPaperback – 27 Sept. 2012

by [Edward Greenfield]

1 Like

I was a member of the Long Playing Record Library run by Ivan March one of the the authors of the Penguin Guide, every week 4 LP’s ( yes vinyl) arrived in the post , you had them for 4 days then return them . So much for the British Postal Service it worked :grinning:

Miraculously they were normally in pretty good condition

PS the answer is a Subscription to the Gramophone Digital Club you get access to current and back issues, and the review database it’s 95 UKP per annum

Is their on;ine Radio Times ?

I used to dash out on Thursday ( I think) to get my copy and plan the next weeks listening. Quad FM3 tuner and a trusty Nakamichi . Probably highly illegal but that was my foundation in classical music

1 Like