I expected to find old-fashioned readings on this Classical program: slow, plodding tempos and long, arching phrases per Böhm's Mozart. Much to my surprise, then, these 1920s and 1930s performances proved to be lithe and animated, with quick tempos to match those of today's authentic performance practice.
The old Boston Symphony sounds magnificent in these remasters. The only one that has any noticeable hiss and crackle at all is the first piece on the first disc, the "Surprise" Symphony of Haydn, and even there you stop noticing the hiss almost immediately, as you become absorbed in such an excellent performance. The orchestra is in fact remarkably well-served by the aural picture presented in these early recordings, with the only exception being the Beethoven 2nd. The high levels of compression demanded by primitive recording technology rob the 2nd of the dynamic contrasts it needs: you don't get much of any loud-soft effect, and the sforzandos have no punch to them. Throughout the rest of these two discs, though, you'll simply be astonished at how good these very old recordings sound, and delighted to acquaint yourself with Koussevitzky's warm, energetic readings and the singular sonorities of one of America's great orchestral institutions, before the age of the record largely homogenized the timbres of the world's orchestras.