I've got three CDs of Barbirolli doing Mahler 6, the EMI release, the "live" London performance (both with the Philharmonia), and the Berlin "live" recording
I'd say the Berlin is the best of the three. True, it is monoaural, which may put some buyers off, but that's not an issue for me if the conducting and playing are as good as this.
Myself, I want to own as much Mahler by Barbirolli as is available, but if you only want one CD of the 6th, I recommend you buy this one.
I was deeply impressed by this CD. Indeed, I would rank it as possibly the "best ever" recording of Mahler 6th put on records. Barbirolli display his intrinsic affinity for music of great power, as well as superb command as a conductor. The Berliners, by then under Karajan's tenure, bring to light all subtleties of the score. In view of Karajan's love for a huge mass of sound, his never-ending legato and his ideal of making his orchestra sound as one single instrument, who would believe that any other conductor could make the Berliners sound so crystal-clear ? . Barbirolli dissects the score and stresses all its chamber-music aspects, and yet manages to marshal monstrous orchestral forces whenever they are called for. The pace of the opening " Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig" follows to the letter Mahler's indications - a world away from the frantic, break-neck pace some conductors imprint to this movement. The recording however still has room for improvement, I must say. Nevertheless, it's worth every penny.
Testament is an artist-based label, not restricted to any particular period of recording history, and its releases are selected from the archives of some of the largest record companies and radio stations in the world. With the permission and cooperation of these companies and stations.
Testament releases previously unpublished and deleted recordings from their archives, using their original master tapes and 78rpm metal parts for CD remastering. Testament also has access to their extensive photographic archives and comprehensive research facilities.
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Testament LP's are cut onto lacquer from the original master tapes at Abbey Road Studios using full analogue techniques throughout production an pressed onto 180g virgin vinyl.