Although pretty basic, years ago Stereo Review would, from time to time, publish "The Basic Repertoire of Orchestral Music". I probably have a copy lying around somewhere. If you write providing me with your address, I will try to find it and make a photocopy to mail to you. Obviously, at this point in time, these records would have to be found on the used market except, maybe, for the odd re-issue. Let me know. Good day.
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Dougdeacon brings up a good point - are you interested primarily in the performance or the sonics? Seems to me the recommendations would be radically different depending on your answer.
Different strokes and all that, but for me the performance is paramount. There are lots of tidy and pristine recordings out there where the actual performance is as pedestrian and uninvolving as kitty litter.
If you had specific works you were looking for, lots of folks here can suggest particular releases (which, as Pbb notes, you may have to search high and low for or pay a premium to a collector).
Thanks for your comments and suggestions.
Timwat, you raise an interesting question I had not thought about before asking my original question. I guess, ideally, both, but I know that having both is very rare. If I had to choose, it would probably be sonics (but not by much).
I'm not looking for any specfic releases...just would like to have a list to choose from.
You may be interested in:
This is an interesting "starter" site that is geared to introduce different aspects/periods of the genre to the curious newcomer. You'll get as much an basic education about sub genres, periods and composers as a recommended list.
As you drill down to specific composers, they have suggestions for significant, representative compositions and recommended recordings. The recommendations are based upon performance, not sonics. It is not geared toward the audiophile, but someone wanting to learn about classical music.
One can argue back and forth about whether a particular recommendation is "the best" performance of a specific work. For instance, Beethoven's complete 9 symphonies - do you go Von Karajan or Furtwangler? But most of the recommendations are for good readings of the repertoire and I don't remember any clinkers mentioned.
Each recording is referenced by its current CD release. You asked for vinyl, not digital. But many of the CD releases refer to older recordings which have been re-released in digital. Your job, Jim, should you choose to accept it, is to find the original recording on vinyl.
For instance, it recommends Bach's Brandenburgs 1-6 recorded by Festival Strings Lucerne, conducted by Rudolf Baumgartner (Suk, Jaccottet, Bourgue, Nicolet, Touvron) on CD. After a little searching, I found it on vinyl, Ex Libris EL16873 in mint condition in Canada.
Hope this helps.
Try to find a used Penguin Guide from 1984 or earlier. Should be available on eBay from time to time, or you can try to find one on Amazon.com. The 1984 edition of *The Complete Penguin Stereo Record and Cassette Guide* by Greenfield, Layton & Marsh should be pretty easy to find. At almost 1400 pages, it's principally dedicated to LPs and cassettes - - although on the cover there is a note "Now Including Compact Discs."