Evaluating Classical Music Albums


How do you evaluate classical music albums? 
First, what do you look for when you’re deciding which album to stream or buy? Is the conductor/orchestra more important, or is the record label? How important is the date of the recording?
Second, what do you listen for in an album that you already have to determine the quality of the recording? This can obviously be divided further into the musical quality and the sonic quality of the recording. What factors are important in evaluating these qualities?

Thanks for the advice. 
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I check the Daily Deals on eClassical (a download source owned by BIS Recordings). It is a great way to get good-sounding and well performed repertoire. Any downloads can be refunded, if you don’t like them, within 30 days. So risk free. And BIS recordings tend to have better sonics than most others. For sound and performance, their Bach Cantata series is outstanding. The disc of Schubert Male Choruses is breathtaking -- I prefer it in both sound and performance to the Shaw version on Telarc. And so on....

I also subscribe to Classics Today, an online review source that helps me decide what to try. As with audio reviews, I don’t like everything they recommend, but I often listen on Qobuz to see what I think.

I specifically don’t care about Harry Pearson’s favorites. I am more interested in timbre than spatial effects and not interested in blockbusters. And I want NEW recordings, not endless reissues, though some old things (e.g. Bernstein’s Haydn) are musts.
Forgot to mention, if you still like hard copy magazines, BBC Music is a good read, with reviews of new CD releases each month that focus on performance as well as sonics; as you hear some of the CDs reviewed, you will get an idea of which reviewer's tastes most closely resemble yours.  Plus it has the BBC 3 radio schedule, for those of us who listen to it on internet radio.  And as a bonus, they have a CD with each issue, usually well-recorded and performed.  I have been introduced to a lot of music I would not have heard through those CDs.
These are some great suggestions, thanks!