Since Christopher Hogwood's period-set of the complete symphonies, here have been at least two, by my count, complete cycles of the Mozart symphonies. Trevor Pinnock's period set with the English Concert improved upon Hogwood's set with better intonation and a stronger interpretive point of view. Charles Mackerras's uses modern instruments, but in the period vein, historically informed performances with stereophonically placed violins, hard mallets for the timpani, and an ever-present, but never distracting, harpsichord continuo. While I enjoy Pinnock's great depth of tonal color and gutty strings, when it comes to interpretations alone, Mackerras stands supreme.
There are too many wonderful moments throughout this set to highlight individually but there are certainly some standout performances. Has the allegro of the wonderful Symphony No. 29 ever had such vivacious energy? Or listen to the four horns in The Little G-Minor symphony really play out, making this such a full-bodied, exciting journey. The little Paris Symphony is a delight from start to finish, Mackerras highlighting the subtly of this symphonic gem. Of course, the big six are astounding, but the Prague is really something. Throughout the cycle, Mackerras takes all the repeats, which gives the Prague Symphony an appropriate sense of depth and grand dimensions. The allegro is simply outstanding, the most energetic performance on disc while the finale dances from the speaker, chuck full of humor and charm. The Big G-Minor is equally fine, and while the competition in this, Mozart's greatest symphony, is fierce, Mackerras's performance is as winning as any.
I agree with those that say this set is in bad need of a remastering. Symphony No. 39 sounds as if it were recorded in a cave while the Jupiter sounds slightly grey-toned. But on the whole, the sound quality is good, certainly better than Bohm's wonderful, if "old-school" cycle, and the interpretations are consistently fantastic. A winner at any price, but now at under $50, its practically a steal.