However, quadraphonic vinyl LPs never really established themselves in the marketplace. But with the advent of compact discs and digital surround-sound formats, BMG went back to the original quadraphonic master tapes, mixed them for Dolby Surround and released them on CD. I never did set up surround system in my home, but I enjoyed this CD in two-channel stereo and it certainly sounds excellent in that format. However, sometime in the early 2000s I took this CD along on a visit to the Legacy Audio facilities in Springfield, Illinois. In one of his several listening rooms, Bill Dudleston had set up a multi-channel system for the purpose of investigating various approaches to surround sound for both home theater and music listening. For the heck of it, we stuck the Stokowski CD in to the system and were bowled over by the resulting sound. Not only was the soundstage expansive left-to-right and front-to-back, but there was a sensation of height that was truly impressive. Dudleston had a scope in the system that allowed him to see the way the signal was allocated among the four main speakers – he was amazed to see that the Stokowski CD yielded the cleanest, purest, most impressive signal division that he had ever encountered.
In terms of performance, Stokowski's Mahler is a bit on the slow side, but very expressive – this is a powerful, moving performance. With its excellent sound and majestic performance, this version of the "Resurrection" is one of the finest I have ever heard. If you are a fan of this symphony but have never heard this recording, well, you might want to put it on your want list.
By the way, Stokowski's Brahms 4th is also powerful, but in the opposite way -- it is performed at breakneck speed! A quick comparison: Mackerras's performances with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Telarc) are generally regarded as fast and lively. In the first movement, Mackerras clocks in at 12:02, Stokowski at 10:48. In the final movement, a set of dramatic theme and variations, Mackerras clocks in at 10:06, while Stokowski comes in at 9:51. Yes, this is probably much faster than Brahms intended (and remember, Mackerras is leading a chamber orchestra, while Stokowski is at the helm of the full LSO). It is hard to imagine this one being anyone’s first choice in the Brahms, but it is fun to listen to every once in a while. Majestic Mahler, manic Brahms. Most of the time, you can just start with Track 5, the opening movement of the Mahler.