Classical Music for Aficionados

I would like to start a thread, similar to Orpheus’ jazz site, for lovers of classical music.
I will list some of my favorite recordings, CDs as well as LP’s. While good sound is not a prime requisite, it will be a consideration.
  Classical music lovers please feel free to add to my lists.
Discussion of musical and recording issues will be welcome.

I’ll start with a list of CDs.  Records to follow in a later post.

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique.  Chesky  — Royal Phil. Orch.  Freccia, conductor.
Mahler:  Des Knaben Wunderhorn.  Vanguard Classics — Vienna Festival Orch. Prohaska, conductor.
Prokofiev:  Scythian Suite et. al.  DG  — Chicago Symphony  Abbado, conductor.
Brahms: Symphony #1.  Chesky — London Symph. Orch.  Horenstein, conductor.
Stravinsky: L’Histoire du Soldat. HDTT — Ars Nova.  Mandell, conductor.
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances. Analogue Productions. — Dallas Symph Orch. Johanos, cond.
Respighi: Roman Festivals et. al. Chesky — Royal Phil. Orch. Freccia, conductor.

All of the above happen to be great sounding recordings, but, as I said, sonics is not a prerequisite.

The first piano concerto is truly a classic and allows the soloist to show his/her stuff.
The second and third never seem to capture that. Both have slow movements that border on maudlin.
The second has a nice final movement, technically super difficult, but doesn't allow the soloist to make it his/her own, like the first.
My 2 cents...
-Listening to DeBeriot Violin concertos as I write.
Liking #2 as I write, still on first movement.  Listening to the Donohoe/Barshai EMI recording, which seems very good.  An excellent breadth and depth of soundstage, and seems to get the balance between piano and orchestra just right, which many piano concerto recordings don't (generally spotlighting the soloist).
Wow- I have been away from this board for a few weeks and there have been some interesting discussions here!  

I don't think anyone responded to Pete, who asked about programs for cataloging a collection.  I found the ones I looked at wanting for classical, so I just use an Excel file with columns for everything I want to list.  

Mahler's symphonies are amazing - I would urge anyone who hasn't to try the performances of Claudio Abbado, both older and newer.  For instance, many prefer Abbado's 5th with Chicago to Solti's from the same era, including myself.  His more recent work with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra was amazing as well.  The best Mahler conductor of our time, IMO.  

Speaking of showing off audio systems with Mahler, my choice is always the first 20 minutes or so of the second movement of the Mahler 8th, with Solti and Vienna, recorded by London.  This is an excellent test/show off vehicle for your system, for a lot of different things, from one extreme dynamic to another, and one register extreme to the other as well, along with a huge variety of timbres. 

Very interesting discussions about different composers, too.  There are a few I personally would put above Beethoven for sheer compositional craft - Mozart and Bach from earlier in his era, and from nearer our own era, Bartok and Stravinsky.  Of the later romantics, Wagner and R. Strauss are his equal for sheer craft as well.  Wagner of course much more limited as far as variety in genres, lol!  But Mozart and R. Strauss are the two who wrote a truly great work in pretty much every genre of the art (if we stretch to include tone poems in the case of Strauss). 

As far as great symphonists go, obviously most of those don't apply. I agree with the Sibelius choice, Mozart and Haydn must also be mentioned, Brahms, Dvorak, and it must also be said, and I'm surprised Schubert didn't mention this having lived there, but in Europe Bruckner is often considered second only to Beethoven as a symphonist.  He is still under-appreciated here in the US.  Try the Giulini Bruckner 7th with Vienna if you have never heard that recording.  The writing in the coda of the slow movement for the horns and Wagner tubas was in tribute to Wagner, who died while Bruckner was composing that movement. One of the most beautiful and moving moments in the entire symphonic repertoire. 
Big +1 on Giulini's 7th w/ Vienna PO, and I would add his 9th with the CSO, still one of my fav's. 
learsfool. Perhaps it was on another post, but I did recommend Bruckner ,
and would have R. Strauss if I had not been schooled by Herr newbee
for putting Mozart and Brahms above LvB and Mahler .I learned that Bruckner was too "precious " , Schubert’s 9th was over done and Haydn is to be dismissed out of hand . In fact all symphonies before LvB are to be .
I do appreciated being corrected .

In Europe Claudio is the man for Mahler beyond doubt . Rightly so .
Few of my favorite moderns , fool that I am, in no order are,Bartok, R.Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Hindemith , Janacek and Bruckner .
FWIW , I have a Bruckner set "Skrowaczewski / Rundfunk -Saarbrucken" that I dearly love . Those smaller German radio banks played together forever and often , this great conductor had them at their peak and sometimes lesser is more .

St. Paul is a hot spot for Early Music , I’d as soon listen to Henry Purcell as anybody .