When choosing what orchestral works to buy, I tend to look at the conductor of the piece and I base my decision on that. It helps to know if a conductor specialized in a certain composer, as Sir John Barbirolli was an expert on the works of Edward Elgar for instance. Other conductors that I would look out for on a classical music cd are Herbert von Karajan, Otto Klemperer and Simon Rattle. All these men have reputations that are hard to beat.
I also have to decide on a selection of soloists. Again, there seems no point in looking outside the known geniuses in their field. The cello is one of my favorite instruments and I love the work of Pablo Casals, Jacqueline du Pre, Yo Yo Ma and Steven Isserlis. The best violin virtuosos are Itmak Perlman and Yehudi Menuin. When selecting pianists, I go for Glenn Gould whenever possible. A classical music cd which matches the best composers with the best players is sublime.