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    

Lutoslawski Trois Poems D'henri Michaux Lp Wergo German Vg++ ClassicalThe Monacos Continental Disco Lp Private Oh Organ Disco Sealed 70sBach: Italian Concerto - Rosalyn Tureck **uk First Press Hmv Asd 372 C/gold**Mint Beauty = Fuse = Organ/guitar Powered Hard Rock Jams By Cheap Trick & NazzBeethoven: Symphony No.4 - Otto Klemperer **columbia Sax 2354 Uk First Press**Mendelssohn/klemperer 1961 Uk Lp Columbia Sax 2393 Stereo B/s 1stMozart/david Oistrakh 1963 Uk Lp Decca Sxl 6088 Wbg Ed1 StereoDgg Red Stereo Tulip Tchaikovsky Mravinsky Symphony No.4 Slpm 138657 NmRostropovich: Cello Sonatas - Britten / Debussy **decca Sxl 2298 Wbg Ed1**Philips Sal3416-20 - Beethoven - Violin Sonatas - David Oistrakh - Lev OborinBruno Walter/beethoven: Symphony No. 6 "pastorale" Columbia 6-eye StereoTchaikovsky/klemperer 1963 Uk Lp Columbia Sax 2497 Stereo B/s 1st7" Zon-o-phone Phonograph Record - 9258 "abide With Me" Haydn QuartetteDvorak/silvestri 1961 Uk Lp Hmv 1st G&c Asd 396 StereoBeggars Opera Pathfinder Lp 1972 Vertigo 1st Press!! Brilliant Example!!!!Sax 2519 B/s 1960 1st Uk Columbia Schubert & Haydn Quartets Kroll Quartet Schubert/szell 1962 Uk Lp Columbia Sax 2493 Stereo B/s 1stBach Yen : Johnny Hold My Hand (accent) Mod Northern Soul Go Go Garage 45 ListenOtto Klemperer Conducts More Wagner **uk First Press Columbia Sax 2464**Sxl 2238 *wb**dg* Motzart Maag Lso De Peyer Clarinet Concerto, Etc 1960 StereoMravinsky Tchaikovsky Symphony No.5 Dgg Red Stereo Slpm 138658 5/62 NmKremer Bach Sonatas And Partitas For Solo Violin Ed1 Philips Stereo 3lp Box MintPaul Burger Bach 6 Cello Suites Complete! Arco 3 Lp Set Swiss Only 250 Made ! Sax 2473-74 Uk Columbia Mahler Symphony 2 Schwarzkopf Klemperer Nm!Mozart/the Juilliard String Quartet 1962 Uk Lp Columbia Sax 2471 Stereo B/s 1stFournier Bach 6 Suites For Cello Solo Archiv 198 356-58 First Edition Mega Rare!Mravinsky Tchaikovsky Symphony No.4 Dgg Red Stereo Slpm 138657 8/62 NmDgg Ed.1 Tulip Mozart Johanna Martzy Violin Concerto K.218 Lpx 29251 NmSb-2059 *dg*tchaikovsky Reiner Chicago 1812 Overture 1959 Rca Living Stereo 1960Janos Starker Lp Kodaly Sonata Unaccompanied Cello Opus 8 12" 33rpm Period 510Szeryng Bach 6 Sonatas For Violin Solo Deutsche Grammophon 139270/72 Tulip Rare!Rossini String Sonatas - St Martin In Fields / Neville Marriner **argo Zrg 506**Asd 396 'gold/cream' Dvorak Symphony No2 Silvestri Vienna Phil.orch Ex+Beethoven Sonata For Cello And Piano Original Mono Telefunken Ney And HoelscherRare Magic Sounds Of Ennio Bolognini-international Lp 5021 Cello Mint Top CopyMozart. Don Giovanni. Sax.2369-2372.1st Press.perfect Vinyl. Rare Blue & Silver Daniil Shafran Bach Suites For Solo Cello No. 5 & 6 Ed1 Eterna Stereo Nm6 Queen Lps A Night At The Opera S/t News Of The World The Game Jazz Hot SpaceEnrico Mainardi-violoncello Schumann-grazioli-schubert-chopin Dgg Lpem 19054/573 Nr Mnt Nathan Milstein Violin Lp Record Albums! 1958 Vignettes, Concerto In DMexico Grail Breaks Juan Torres Feliz Navidad Rare Drums Funk Organ Og Lp Nm-Queen 4lp Lot - Sheer Heart Attack/a Night At The Opera/day Races/jazzPhilips 6747 125 Ed1 Szeryng, Haebler Mozart Violin Sonatas, Variation Sets Nm/mSxl 6291 *wb**dg* Dvorak Kertesz Lso Sym No9, Eminor, Op95 Uk Decca Stereo1967Lyrita Stereo Srcs 112 Uk Finzi Cello Concerto Yo Yo Ma Rpo Handley NmSxl 2297 *wb**dg* Brahms/wagner Clarinet Quintet Etc Vienna Octet 1961 StereoUltra Rare Funk David Nunez John Wagner Mother Lode Soul Funky Og Lp Nm- BreaksBeethoven/klemperer 1958 Uk Lp Columbia Sax 2260 Stereo B/s 1stHmv Ed.1 Alp 1060 Beethoven Wilhelm Furtwangler Symphony No.3 Eroica NmDenon Ox-7140-nd Virtuoso Music For Cello Janos Starker Shigeo Neriki NmQueen A Night At The Opera Uk Press 1975 Matrix 5063-4/5064-3 Emi Emtc 103Mozart-violin Sonatas-lupu-goldberg/6 Lp Decca 13 Bb 1 Ed. NmSxl 2157 *wb**dg* Beethoven Vienna Octet Septet Op.20 1959 Decca StereoAsd 2432 '1st Semi' Brahms 'hyden' Variations Barbirolli Vienna 1968 Ex+Beaux Arts Trio Haydn The 43 Piano Trios Ed1 Dutch Philips Stereo 14lp Box MintMilstein- Mozart Sonatas Capitol P 8452 SealedTchaikovsky / Sibelius Violin Concertos - Mullova **philips Digital 416 821-1**Dgg Digital Schumann Martha Argerich Gidon Kremer Violin Sonatas 419235-1 Nm1988 Dg Dig. 419 241-1 Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto Mutter Vpo Karajan Mozart Sonatas For Violin & Piano Barylli/badura-skoda Lp Westminster Wl 5394 Nm

Recent News: Classical Records

Source: Google News

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

yMusic op 24 augustus in Synagoge Groningen
Seniorenkrant Groningen, August 15th

Hun prachtige debuutalbum Beautiful Mechanic werd in 2011 uitgeroepen tot Time Out New York's Best Classical Record. yMusic treedt op in de Synagoge Groningen in de Folkingestraat, zondag 24 augustus van 14.30 tot 15.30 uur en van 16.30 tot 17.30 ...Read more

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

The composer and 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 ...Read more

Daft Punk New Album In The Works? Electronic Duo Skipped 2014 Tour To ...
KpopStarz, August 10th

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

Daft Punk Tour 2014 Postponed Until Next Year? 'Random Access Memories ...
KpopStarz, July 29th

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