Vintage classical vinyl records are prized by collectors for their warm sound quality compared to digital as well as the fact that many rare or out-of-print titles are only available in LP format. There's an extremely wide range of desirable record titles available to classical-music fans, from recordings by famous conductors (Furtwangler, Orff) and instrumentalists (Menuhin, Oistrakh) to rare and compelling pressings by lesser-known artists. Collectors have varying methods of accumulating classical records—some prefer specific conductors, musicians, or record labels, while others fancy particular eras.

Some of the first records ever produced were classical recordings. Beginning in 1903, 12-inch classical records with about five minutes of music per side were sold. These early classical records spun at 78 rpm and mostly featured European classical music, which was popular in the United States at the time.

By the 1930s, with the advent and widespread popularity of radios, these 78 records were no longer sufficient to capture live-music transmissions, which lasted longer than any single disc could hold. After World War II, Columbia thought it had this problem solved when it introduced its 12-inch, 33 1/3 rpm vinyl monaural record, which it branded as the LP, for Long Play. The slower speed allowed record companies to put more music on a disc, although at first popular music was relegated to smaller, less-expensive 10-inch discs.

Eventually, all music went to 12-inch discs, and by the 1950s and 1960s, classical music was largely replaced in the mainstream by jazz and rock ’n’ roll. In response, perhaps, classical composers moved away from some of their staples—tonal centre and harmonic progression. This may have been the heyday of vinyl records, but not necessarily of classical recordings.

Classical music’s struggles continued into the early days of the compact disc, the late 70s and early 80s. Many of the major labels spent heavily to produce a lot of recordings that are widely regarded today as junk, while small retailers were replaced by oversized, and understaffed, record stores. The entire classical music industry was in a state of severe distress.

The few successes of that period, which kept the industry afloat, were reissues of older vinyl records for serious fans, as well as recordings that brought classical music almost into the realm of pop. The prime examples of that type of recording are albums by The Three Tenors—Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti—whose music remains popular to this day.

Collecting classical music records is somewhat easier for the lay collector than other musical genres. This is due in large part to lower prices and the vast variety and quantity...

Some of the most popular classical records on the market include Leonid Kogan’s Beethoven Concerto, released in the United Kingdom by Columbia, Enrico Mainardi’s performances of Bach’s Cellosuites on Deutsche Grammophon, and Rossini’s Sonate a Quattro with Salvatore Accardo on the violin, released by Philips. Recordings by pianist Glenn Gould, particularly of Bach's Goldberg Variations, are enduring favorites, though not especially rare on vinyl.

One of the most collected conductors is Leonard Bernstein, although, as with Gould, his vinyl records, such as those with the New York Philharmonic, are widely available. Bernstein released 72 different vinyl records from 1933 to 1959, but film fans often gravitate to his recordings of "On the Waterfront" or "West Side Story." Other movie-and-classical-music fans look for the collaborations between composer and conductor Bernard Herrmann and director Alfred Hitchcock—Herrmann scored such classics as "North By Northwest" and "Psycho."

In a league of his own is Eugene Ormandy, who spent almost half a century with the Philadelphia Orchestra, with whom he made hundreds of records on labels from RCA Victor Red Seal to Columbia Masterworks, although the quality of the music on his later recordings with EMI/Angel is not considered as strong as his work in the 1950s and '60s.

As with blues, rock, and jazz vinyl records, the quality of a classical recording's cover is also important to most collectors.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]

317X

317X

Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

David Oistrakh Scottish Fantasia Horenstein Hindemith Sxl 6035 Wbg 1e Superb!Beggars Opera - Act One 1970 Vertigo Swirl Lp Terry Riley Persian Surgery Dervishes 2lp France Shanti Records 1972 Synth OrganSxl 2155 Ricci / Lalo Lp 1st Uk Press! Sym Espagnole- Violin! Decca Stereo! Ed1!Queen Lp A Night At The Opera France Emi 1st Press Special Coloured Disc WhitePhilips 6769 024 Salvatore Accardo Rossini Sonate A Quattro 2lpViktoria Mullova Works For Solo Violin Bach Bartok Holland Philips Original Nm3 Lp: Bach 6 Sonatas & Partitas For Solo Violin, Szeryng, Dgg Tulip 139 270/2Janos Starker Bach Suites For Unaccompanied Cello 3 Lp Set Sr3-9016 - Nm-Nathan Milstein - Bach Partitas And Sonatas Violin Capitol Pcr 8370 Morrissey Beethoven Was Deaf Lp 1993 Uk 1st Press Stereo Hmv Csd 3791 SmithsLeonid Kogan Violin Brahms Sonata Uk Columbia Cx 1381 0riginal Ex 3lp Archiv Produktion Stereo Bach 6 Suites Cello Solo Pierre Fournier 2710 005London Jazz Chamber Group Plays Ken Moule's Adam's Rib Suite Lp Uk Ember 1970 StSalvatore Accardo Rossini 6 Sonate A Quattro Original Listen Entire Lp X2Sax 2263 Janos Starker Dvorak Cello Concerto Faure Elegie Sealed Philips 6768 036 Oistrakh, Oborin, Beethoven Violin Sonatas, CompleteEmi Sls 895 3lp Stereo Uk Jacqueline Du Pre Favourite Cello Concertos NmArturo Delmoni Violin Songs My Mother Taught Me North Star OriginalSxl2002 Beethoven Concerto No.5 Emper0r Curzon Knappertsbusch Vienna Phil LpQueen Lp A Night At The Opera Uk Emi 1st Press Blairs Matrix Near Mint VinylSxl 2266 Ed1 Rossini Overtures Gamba LsoDecca Sxl 2006 Wbg 1st Press Mendelsson Bruch Violin Ricci Gamba 1958 ExcellentSxl 6035 Uk Wb Bruch Fantasia Hindemith Violin Concerto Oistrakh Nm!Christian Ferras Bach Solo Violin Sonatas And Partitas Sine Qua Non 3lpMauthausen Orchestra A**l Perversions 1985 Lp 100ex Whitehouse Genocide OrganPhilips Viktoria Mullova Tchaikovsky Sibelius Violin Concertos 416821-1 NmWagner: Tannhauser & Gotterdammerung - Konwitschny **hmv Asd 363 C/gold Lp**Weller Quartet : Beethoven Quartets Nos. 10 & 11 Ed1  Otto Klemperer Beethoven No.9 Orig Blue/silver Sax 2276/7 Uk-1958 2-lps MintB/s Columbia Sax 2278 Mozart Two Symphonies G Minor Otto Klemperer PhilharmoniaBeatles Just Seventeen/roll Over Beethoven Tri Centre Spd 299 S. Rhodesia Sb-2002 Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto Heifetz Reiner Chicago Phil 1958 Rca LpDgg Ed.1 Stereo Beethoven Ferenc Fricsay Symphony No.9 2 Lp Slpm 138 002/003 NmWwii V-disc Vdisc 12" 78 Rpm Records Lot Of 19 Sinatra Classical EtcTelarc Dg 10056/57 Orff Carmina Burana Shaw Original 2lpSxl 2237 ~ Stravinsky Symphony No. 1 ~ Ansermet ~ Ed 1 1960 Ex+ Lp ~ ClassicalRca Lsc 2400 Fistoulari Ballet Music From The Opera 1s ExcellentSxl 2104 Blue Border Back Decca Wbg Ed1 Brahms Symphony 3 Kubelik Brunswick Axtl 1036-41 6-lp! Bach - The Well-tempered Clavier Rosalyn Tureck Nm!Sxl 2110 Decca Wbg Schubert Piano Quintet "trout" Curzon & Vienna Octet Nm!Sax 2328 B/s 1 Ed./brahms-concerto N 2 Richter-haaser/karajan NmKrebbers Violin Kondrashin Rimsky-korsakov Scheherazade PhilipsColumbia Sax 5283 Ed1 Brahms Symphony No.1 Cleveland Orchestra George Szell Nm.Munchinger : Mozart Clarinet Concerto Ed1  Fistoulari : Tchaikovsky Scenes From Swan Lake Ed1  Sxl 6258 Decca Wbg Mozart String Quartets K. 575 & 590 Weller Quartet Nm!Walter : Beethoven Symphony No.6 Hi-fi-stereo  Glenn Gould - Bach: Goldberg Variations Six Eye Ml 5060Sxl 2006 Mendelssohn And Bruch Violin Concertos Ricci Gamba Lso Nr. Mint 1958 LpWagner: Tristan Und Isolde - Flagstad / Furtwangler **rare Hmv Alp 1030-35 6lp**Ansermet : Sibelius Symphony No.4 Ed1  Ida Haendel / Holecek - Famous Violin Compositions **supraphon Sua 10465 Lp**Top M- 1973 Orig = Le Orme ~ Felona & Serona ~ Organ Prog Van Der Graaf PsychSax 2264 B/s Brahms Double Concerto Oistrakh & Fournier Galliera PhilharmoniaJascha Heifetz - Plays Bach Unaccompanied Sonatas & Partitas Rca Lm-6105 Nathan Milstein Violin Four Italian Sonatas Fine Uk Lp Capitol P8481 Fds ExOtto Klemperer Conducts More Wagner Uk Columbia Sax 2464 Stereo Blue/silver Nm4 Classical Lps Decca Sxlp 2105 Sxl 2105 Both Wbg Hmv Asd 470 Cg, Asd 509 SemiFjlp 5036 / Alp 1479 Sibelius Concerto Suk 4 Pieces Ginette Neveu & Jean Neveu

Recent News: Classical Records

Source: Google News

Daft Punk Tour 2014 In US Ends! 'Get Lucky' Duo Cancels Show To Pave Way ...
KpopStarz, September 17th

The duo's latest album Random Access Memories became a huge hit in the last year and grabbed tons of awards during the Grammys including Best Dance/Electronica Album, Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical), Record of the Year and the duo and ...Read more

Today in Music History
The Province, September 8th

In 1920, Canadian classical record producer Eleanor Koldofsky was born in Toronto. In 1941, Otis Redding, one of soul music's greatest performers, was born in Dawson, Ga. His records were constantly on the R&B charts from 1965 on. But Redding only ...Read more

A Classical Take on Classic Rock
Wall Street Journal, August 27th

It seems likely that "Uncovered" (Innova), the new recording by cellist and composer Maya Beiser, will be the only classical record this year that starts with the lyrics "Hey Hey Mama/the way you move/gonna make you sweat/gonna make you groove."...Read more

Santa Fe a favorite summer getaway for Justice Ginsburg
Insurance News Net, August 23rd

Before each opera performance, Ginsburg usually attends the preview buffet at the Opera Ranch with her entourage, which this year included son James Ginsburg , who heads his own classical record company, Cedille Records, in Chicago ; daughter-in-law ...Read more

The Metropolitan Opera's Peter Gelb: A High-Stakes Gambler Who Doesn't Walk ...
Wall Street Journal, August 22nd

A Met spokesman said Mr. Gelb arrived at Sony at a time when the classical-record business was beginning its decline, and was asked by his employers to find new ways to generate record sales outside of the standard repertoire. "The only parallel with...Read more

Jacopo Gianninoto releases new LP 'Herometic'
Music Talkers, August 14th

songwriter known as Jacopo Gianninoto has released his latest LP album, “Herometic.” The record comprises eight original tracks for an approximate total listening time of 50 minutes. A contemporary, experimental, highly imaginative classical record...Read more