These recordings dating from 1956-1963 enshrine what, for many, is a set of incomparable recordings made by an incomparable Delius expert. Beecham spent a good part of his life promoting these works and others by Delius and the composer himself regarded Beecham as definitive in terms of his understanding and delivery.
In addition to that pedigree, Beecham made these recordings with his own orchestra of hand-picked musicians who were utterly familiar with Beecham's view of Delius.
Listening to these recordings once more, having owned and discarded Handley's otherwise fine disc and retained the Barbirolli selection coupled with Bax and Ireland on the same label, I am left with the clear impression that Beecham undoubtedly brings an extra degree of empathy to these scores. There seems to be an inner glow to the music making that completely eluded Handley. Barbirolli delivers a more emotional and forthright version that also benefits from better sound being significantly newer.
As regards the sound, this latest remastering, as with the Barbirolli disc, has noticeably improved the previous CD with greater clarity and 'presence'. What it cannot do is to improve on the relative lack of depth of sound-stage which makes these venerable recordings seem more 2D rather than 3D aurally. There is also a touch of woodenness to the lower reaches of the sound. Owners of previous CD versions of this disc will probably find it a worthwhile improvement and will not be bothered by the deficiencies mentioned above given the very special character and perceptiveness of the performances themselves.
I would therefore suggest that this anthology remains a desirable classic much to be sought after by Delius fans and Beecham fans. The recording has probably never sounded better and it is unlikely that a more committed supporter of Delius' individual sound world will be found to either match or improve on Beecham's special insights.