Classical piano solo—Your one favorite performance and recording

What would you choose if you only had one choice for the desert island?

Here’s one to start with:

J. S. Bach - Goldberg Variations BMV 988

Glenn Gould (Zenph re-performance)

‘Sony Classical SACD

Sharing of your favorites appreciated!



John O'Conor's traversal of the Beethoven sonatas on Telarc is very good.  As are plenty of other recordings.

These recordings are still magic to me. They actually induced me to buy pianos that were, ahem, a trifle more expensive than my abilities deserved. Recording quality, of course, varies.

Rudolf Serkin -- Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata.

Phillippe Entremont plays Debussy.

Maurizio Pollini -- Chopin Etudes

Alfred Brendel -- Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata.

I saw all these guys in concert, too.


Thanks to everyone for the posts and suggestions.

@mikelavigne Recently realized just how much I love it as well which prompted the post.  The simplicity of the single instrument combined with the complexity of the composition and beauty of the performance is particularly attractive to me.

@edcyn What a privilege to have seen those guys in concert, and a reminder to me to take advantage of more opportunities to experience live performances.

@newbee Thank you for identifying the modern recording by Beatrice Rama—will definitely look into it.  Also like your suggestion to drill down by composers.  If anyone would like to expand on that basis it would be most informative.  Also would be interesting to hear of more modern “classical” composers/performances.