Symphony No. 5, FS 97 (Op. 50)
Symphony No. 7 in E minor ("Song of the Night")
The Barbirolli Society has released two previously unpublished recordings from October 20, 1960, featuring Sir John Barbirolli with the combined forces of the Hallé Orchestra and the BBC Northern Symphony (later known as the BBC Philharmonic), in performances of Carl Nielsen's "Symphony No. 5" and Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 7." Barbirolli had been instrumental in introducing Nielsen and Mahler to British audiences, and his advocacy contributed to their international revivals in that decade, comparable to Leonard Bernstein's efforts in the United States. Unfortunately, these live analog recordings are a little worse for wear, and the exciting performances are buried under layers of tape hiss, audience noises, and the boxy and sometimes muffled monaural reproduction. These historical recordings are best appreciated by scholars of Barbirolli's interpretations, and Mahler and Nielsen fans will get something out of them, but newcomers to these symphonies will appreciate them better in clean-sounding, all-digital recordings.