20 Best Naxos Releases

Hello All:

Let me qualify a bit. Looking for an X-mas package for my father-in-law.

I'm not that well versed in classical- as you may note from my Agon moniker. I know he likes some Strauss and other upbeat type pieces.

I'm looking to find him about 15 to 20 cds. I am in Canada ( Vancouver ) so I need the international releases.

Please list what you think I should be buying in the Naxos line. Your thoughts are much appreciated.
Naxos has a huge catalog (well over 3,000 CDs) of all kinds of classical music, from all periods, for all kinds of groups, ensembles, instruments. You really need to provide more information before it will be possible to help you in a meaningful way. Suggest you find out from your father-in-law what kind of music he likes--what some of his favorites are. Or maybe you might consider a gift certificate enabling him to pick out his own recordings?

When I started to explore classical music in a big way about 3 years ago, I searched out the Naxos label because of the number of performances (over 2000) and the inexpensive price. After a while though, I found that there were better performances of the classic composers on other labels for a little more money. Also, whereas I am sure that I could come up with 15 to 20 good sounding Naxos releases, they would wind up being of more modern, not so well know composers and I am not sure if that is your father-in-law's cup of tea.

With that in mind, I am going to suggest a different approach. In the last year or so, the RCA Living Stereo Series of great performances from the late 1950's have been remastered. They have been reissued in SACD hybrid form (playable on all ÇD and SACD players); offer 3 channel sound (FR; FL; CC) ... a plus if your father-in-law has HT; and sound really great. You could get 10 to 12 of these performances for the price of 15 to 20 Naxos recordings.

If this sounds promising, here are the dozen that I would recommend:

Beethoven - Symphonies No. 5 & 6
Beethoven - "Violin Concerto in D"
Chopin - "Ballades"
Franck - Symphony in D
Mahler - Symphony No. 4
Anna Moffo - "Arias"
Ravel - "Daphnis Et Chloe"
Stokowski - "Rhapsodies"
Strauss - "Also sprach Zarathustra"
Tchaikovsky - "Pathetique" Symphony (#6)
Van Cliburn - Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3
Van Cliburn - Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1

These are available mail order from Tower Records or J&R Music for usually $10 a CD. Music Direct has them packaged and specially priced by when they were released (there have been 3 separate releases). If you do want to throw in 2 Naxos releases for good measure, get the new recordings of Brahms' Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 with Alsop conducting.

Happy shopping!

Regards, Rich
I agree w/ Rich. You can't miss w/ the Living Stereo re-issue/re-master hybrids. 30 titles from which to choose...something for everyone.
I will third Rich's recommendation of the RCA Living Stereos and raise the possibility of the recent remastered Mercury Living Presence CD/SACD's. My opinion is also that these will be better performances--more musically satisfying--than the Naxo's.
Robert Craft conducting Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" (on Naxos) is outstanding!
I'm not a fan of Naxos, myself - and I agree with the others recommending fewer of a better quality.

However, there are bargains - even better than Naxos - so here's a webpage you may be interested in:


Also - before making any purchases try to ascertain whether your father in law is more interested in large scale orchestral (which is what most of the RCA's are) or smaller scale chamber music like quartets, sonatas, and solo performances. Some people really prefer one over the other.
Thanks for the tips Guys!!!

Off I go.... It's fun to buy music for others!!!
About four years ago, I posted a list of Naxos "Top 47" recordings, as determined by reviews and ratings in various classical music magazines and articles. Here is the link to that post in the A-gon archives:


Hope you find the list useful.

Best regards to all,

Scott C-
Thanks again A-goners!!

All this info has me covered as far as purchases.
Now if I can just get a little Motorhead in the cd player on xmas day as a counterbalance, all will be well!!!
I can't help with recomendations, but I can recommend


Every classical CD you can think of, logically organized for searching with great prices and great shipping rates.

I've bought many CDs there now and the service has been excellent.

They carry the full Naxos line.