Classicalite's Five Best: EMI Recordings

By James Inverne on Jul 23, 2013 07:05 PM EDT

Indeed, EMI Classical has been one of the most vital forces for recorded classical music for several decades, releasing hundreds of classic recordings from, well, take your pick.

And as source within the industry recently confided to us, both the EMI Classical and Virgin Classics names will disappear under Warner's acquistion--to be housed under WMG's revived Erato imprint.

The following, then, are Classicalite's five best EMI recordings. Feel free to seek out and enjoy any, perhaps even all, of them:

Puccini's Tosca, cond. Victor de Sabata

One of those few recordings which one knows will never be better, Maria Callas, Tito Gobbi and Giuseppe Di Stefano strike dramatic sparks stoked ever higher by the sense of electric spontaneity coming from de Sabata's baton.

Elgar's Cello Concerto, Jacqueline Du Pré

With Sir John Barbirolli guiding her inspiration, Du Pré gave an endlessly involving account of Elgar's masterpiece. Coupled with Dame Janet Baker's similarly unsurpassed Sea Pictures.

Mahler's Symphony No. 8, cond. Klauss Tennstedt

Tennstedt's Mahler, nerves taut as violin strings, was never better caught than in this most spectacular of the composer's works, with the London Philharmonic on world-beating form. And for once, he seems to make sense of its peculiar two-part structure.

Schubert's Winterreise, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Gerald Moore

The benchmark recording of the most famous of all song cycles, with Fischer-Dieskau's and Moore's magnificent, searching partnership.

Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, cond. Furtwängler

Kirsten Flagstad and Wilhelm Furtwängler prove for all time their credentials as superlative Wagnerians. Ludwig Suthaus may not have been quite in their league but gave the performance of his life here.

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TagsJames Inverne, Classicalite's Five Best, EMI, Puccini, Elgar, Mahler, Schubert, Wagner

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