Daniel Barenboim: 10 unmissable recordings

Hattie Butterworth
Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Winner of the 2022 Gramophone Lifetime Award, we look back on 10 of Daniel Barenboim's greatest recordings

Brahms The Symphonies

Staatskapelle Berlin / Daniel Barenboim (DG)

Editor's Choice – Awards Issue 2018

'These are not ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ performances, as so many latter-day Brahms recordings are. They embody deeper memories and seek out larger horizons, as Brahms himself did when he created these astonishing works.'

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Tchaikovsky & Sibelius Violin Concertos

Lisa Batiashvili vn Staatskapelle Berlin / Daniel Barenboim (DG)

Recording of the Month– January 2017

Gramophone Awards Finalist 2017 - Concerto

'Everything feels ‘in the moment’, a quality of improvisation like music created in the playing of it. Her musicality always comes with an element of surprise...This is concerto-playing of the very highest order...Every familiar phrase somehow manages to sound both authoritative and newly discovered...a delight from start to finish.'

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Elgar Symphony No 1 in A flat major, Op. 55

Staatskapelle Berlin / Daniel Barenboim (Decca)

Recording of the Month – May 2016

Gramophone Awards Finalist 2016 - Orchestra 

'Barenboim’s long association with, and love for, Elgar has effectively made it part of his musical DNA...And because he is a master he has somehow communicated all of that, both in practical and spiritual terms, to an orchestra for whom it is relatively unfamiliar. That is the really startling achievement here and it manifests itself in playing that is as exciting as it is nuanced.'

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Verdi Requiem

Anja Harteros sop / Elīna Garanča mez / Jonas Kaufmann ten / René Pape bass / Orchestra e coro del Teatro alla Scala, Milan / Daniel Barenboim (Decca)

Editor's Choice – November 2013

'This performance, exciting and occasionally thrilling though it is, is not remotely Italian...It's a 'through-composed' linked-up performance, paced withy a dramatic curve that makes even the punchiest Italian-led ones...feel like number opera...The non-Italian soloists are in good fearless voice and aurally well integrated into this concept.'

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J S Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 

Daniel Barenboim (Warner)

Editor's Choice – October 2005

'There is no sense of received wisdom, only a vital act of recreation that captures Bach’s masterpiece in all its first glory and magnitude; no simple-minded notions of period style or strict parameters but a moving sense of music of a timeless veracity.'

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 9 & 17

Berlin Philharmonic / Daniel Barenboim pf (Teldec)

'These discs place Barenboim alongside them in the highest class of interpreters of Mozart's piano concertos, and demand to be owned even if you already possess other versions.'

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Bruckner Symphony No 1 & Te Deum

Jessye Norman sop / Yvonne Minton contr / David Rendall ten / Samuel Ramey bass / Chicago Symphony Chorus / Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Daniel Barenboim (DG)

'In the symphony, Barenboim is witty, affectionate and vital and the Chicago playing is sumptuous without in any way being bland or suffocating... one can understand Deutsche Gramophone's desire to give the best of this Barenboim Bruckner cycle another airing.'

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Beethoven: Complete Piano Trios

Daniel Barenboim pf / Jacqueline Du Pré vc / Pinchas Zuckerman vln (Warner)

'Throughout the set the playing is exceptionally musical and lively, responding to this glorious music as generously as one could wish.'

Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos 

Daniel Barenboim pf / New Philharmonia Orchestra / Otto Klemperer (Warner)

'Rarely on record has the slow movement of the C major Concerto been played with so natural a sense of concentrated calm, the whole thing profoundly collected on the spiritual plane. One of the joys of the Barenboim/Klemperer cycle is its occasional unpredictability: rock-solid readings that none the less incorporate a sense of 'today we try it this way'.

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Daniel Barenboim Plays Chopin, The Warsaw Recital

Daniel Barenboim (DG)

'The Barcarolle ebbs and flows...featuring patient unravelling of the sublime coda’s densely populated inner voices. The...Berceuse has also had a flexible and poetic makeover... the engineering’s resonant ambience communicates a palpable sense of occasion and flatters Barenboim’s huge, colourful sonority.'

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