All these performances are given "on period instruments", but no further specification is provided. The players are listed, but not (as is becoming increasingly standard practice) their instruments so that one has no way of knowing whether an orchestra "of the Eighteenth Century" is using, for instance, the kind of clarinet Mozart would have known or one dating from the 1830s, when most of this music was written and by which time the instrument had developed out of all recognition. There is certainly a greater general instrumental clarity and definition than had become familiar by the later nineteenth century, when different instrument-making practice and, no less,
composers' expectations in tonal blend had further altered the sound of the symphony orchestra. This shows to good effect in such details as the translucent sound of the "Dresden Amen" against the sombre brass near the start of the Reformation Symphony, with the twittering flutes in the finale of the Italian Symphony and in their balance with the main theme of the Andante, perhaps most of all in the gentle haze of sound that is an essential part of the invention in the '1-lolyrood' Adagio (though Mendelssohn did not name it that) of the Scottish Symphony.
These are attractive, sensitive performances that use the tonal constitution of the orchestra effectively. All are live, and reflect great credit on the self-discipline of the citizens of Vredenburg, a taciturn and bronchially healthy audience. For those who want the three symphonies and like the sound quality this is a good proposition.
-- Gramophone [9/1997]