I have been too frugal in my acquisition of Mozart symphonies over the
years, which makes me ill-qualified to answer the question. This,
however, has never stopped me before. I started out with Marriner and
the Academy on cassette, but it has been so long since I've listened to
any of my cassettes that I can't summon a mental image of what the
performance was like. Then I bought Mackerras and Prague on CD, and
lived with it for many years, neither loving nor hating it. Finally
after a couple of decades I decided that Mackerras is not the man for
me. He's not a fussy conductor, which is good, I suppose; he's plain -
lean and bouncy, on a healthy trot toward his destination. Yet these
qualities do not make up for what I find to be a paucity of imagination.
Recently I bought Gardiner with the English Baroque Soloists, and I
think I'll stick with it for awhile. I like it. I hear a stronger
musical imagination at work, and I'm more inspired to whistle along with
the music. Whistling is one of the privileges of listening at home.
Mackerras never made me whistle.