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on 2 October 2013
I bought this boxed set after being disappointed by Karl Bohm's recording of the symphonies. What a contrast! Mackerras brings an energy and joy to the works that give the symphonies fresh vitality. I'm sure Mozart would have approved!
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on 6 April 2016
Excellent value for the price. It's good to have the very early symphonies, played with such energy and joy, but it takes a few CDs into the box set before we get to really great music. Mackerras is a fine Mozart conductor: no hanging about but a proper feel for the more solemn moments. The playing is superb (though I am not entirely convinced by the ubiquitous harpsichord) and the acoustic okay. If you don't want to shell out for his recordings with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, this is certainly the next best thing.
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on 7 February 2015
Australian test-bowler Merv Hughes was wide of girth. During one of their bouts, Pakistani batsman Javed Miandad - a champion - once sledged him as a bus-conductor. When Big Merv dismissed him shortly thereafter, he strode down the wicket and cried "Tickets please! Tickets please!"

In all fairness, I wonder whether the same sledge could be made of Sir Charles Mackerras per se. Pray that the vaults contain not any Bruckner from his hand!

As things stand, three cycles of Mozart's symphonies bore me thoroughly. Woeful intonation and limp interpretations rule Mozart: The Symphonies (Nos 1-41, plus 27 other symphonic works) /AAM * Schroder * Hogwood out of court. Complete Mozart Symphonies is just so middling - does it contain a single quaver of distinction? And I say much the same of this Mackerras set which is a slight upgrade on Pinnock albeit at a higher pitch. I can endure its period practice mannerisms as the price of admission. It has plenty of energy to its name - but to what vivid end? Look past the excellence of the engineering - is there a single interpretation here that is stamped with greatness? What of vision? Consider the slow movement of K 550 - where is the end of summer and loss of the harvest? How pedestrian it is! The endless repeats are also an invitation to go bonkers.

Breezy, well-proportioned, energetic performances only get you so far in Mozart and no further. For all its flaws - such as dead-on-arrival G Minor symphonies - Uncle Karl and the Berliners incarnate a metaphysical dimension that is lacking in this well-meaning, earthbound affair (Mozart: The Symphonies). The single greatest performance of a Mozart symphony known to me - cue the howls of derisions - is Furtwangler (BP - not VP) in K 550. That's the benchmark. Semi-conductors such as Corporal Hogwood, Pinnock and Mackerras "walk under his huge legs and peep about to find themselves dishonourable graves."

Tickets please!
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on 2 November 2015
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