Must have classic recordings

I like to explore classiacal music.Can you make a list of your favorite albums which are also very well recorded,please include what versions and what label?
Mine so far.
1.Smetana-Ma vlast by KubelĂ­k 1990 version
2.Fahir Atakoglu - senfonik konseri
3.Elgar - Cello concerto jaqueline Du Pre XRCD version
4.Dvorak - New world s by Karel Ancerl xrcd
5.Bach - Toccata & Fuge Koopman 84
6.Vivaldi - 4 seasons by Gil Shaham
Classical is very difficult to find any sort of comprehensive listing of great recordings. All the 'little' lists just offer little dribbles of info. The best source is a magazine called "American Record Guide". They have an overview of some particular type or group. IE Beethoven Symphonies.
Worth going to a big city library that has all of them in reference. Ditto for music reviews in Stereophile and Absolute Sound back issues.
Also "Fanfare" magazine, another classical review guide. They only review stuff sent to them, so no major record labels, all the small labels though.
Then the Peguin Guide book, however, just like Grammaphone, very biased toward preferring British recordings.
NPR has a book, but it is very limited, best used to check out who did what worth listening to, rather than particular recordings of each composer.
Liz, you got game, girl!! Posting before church, no less! Much appreciated info there. Due time for me to organize all those classical platters!! Thanks
Furtwangler's 1942 Beethoven 9th, Berlin - the Hitler's birthday bash. Not because it's a great recording - far from it, it's pretty bad. It is, however, like being in the path of an oncoming runaway train and you are staring at it hurtling towards you and rooted to the spot, unable to move. Yes, you asked for good recordings but the title was "must have" :)
I don't know that you will get a lot out of a few "great recordings." Most people who are into classical music, myself included, find the genre to lend itself to a comparison of performances. For example, a great recording of Beethoven's 9th is one thing but the real enjoyment tends to come more from hearing the differences between performances by say Karajan in 62 vs Karajan in the late 70's vs. Furtwangler in the 40's or early 50's vs Vanska or Herrwegghe or Jarvi. Changes in tempo, how one conductor interprets the piece, the difference between the Berlin Phiharmonic as opposed to the Vienna, or how one conductor interacted with a given orchestra as opposed to another, and so on and so forth - virtually endless. To get much of anything out of classical music takes a good deal of time investment, but the rewards are remarkable. Of course, one can certainly find a well recorded version of any piece so as to say to company "listen to how great classical sounds on my system." For that, almost any studio recording in the last 10 years should suffice.
Very good point Musicnoise. I only truly appreciated the Ninth, even though it was my "first love" of classical music, once I had got several copies. I now have 11 different versions but that's nothing - I have come across people who have over 50!
It is important, for me at least, to hear interpretations from the artists / conductors that I admire the most. (The reason I stay within known confines is that there are a standard group of the latter whom I know I can trust with just about anything. I can explore other interpretors at a later time if necessary). Only when you hear a few versions can you really get some understanding of what a piece can do for you. And only then can you know what to look for when seeking out the "ultimate recording" - if there is such a thing. Let's for the sake of this argument assume there is :)
Then the Peguin Guide book, however, just like Grammaphone, very biased toward preferring British recordings.

Its probably because the Brits tend to do things better than other 'nations' musically,lol...............
I think the British reviewers/critics haven't figured out yet that now-a-days the sun does set on the British Empire. Some might say that it not only sets but no longer rises! :-)

Re request, you might like to look at some old threads posted in this forum that are listed for easy reference under the category 'Best Of'.

Another pulp reference without the British slant is the "All Music Guide to Classical Music". It has recommendations for good recordings as well as biographies of the composers, conductors, performance, and orchestras. Music recommendations are mostly for performance I think, but it is surely a good place to start looking for straight ahead performances and incidental information.
Orff - Carmina Burana -
Bizet - Carmen - (opera)
The globetrotting days of a ALL once great empires does indeed come to an end, sometimes a very sticky end, take note America!lol.
Seriously though, I have bought many a recommendation from the Grammophone catalogue, and I must say that many a recording are indeed from 'International' companies rather than be biased from one particular country.
As classical recordings are usually very good, I also agree that it maybe best to choose between performers rather than labels.