Christopher Dyment writes in his notes: "In the perspective of Toscanini's recorded Ninths commencing with the New York Philharmonic aircheck of 1936 and terminating with the RCA recording of March-April 1952, this performance is, the finale aside, one of the less expansive, consistently faster in the first three movements than either of those cited. In particular the first movement, while not as over-pressed (and over-stressed) as its counterpart in the NBC S. O. cycle of 1939, is pushed at some points to the very limits of the players' capacity, although there are moments of flexibility, such as the hush at the start of the development and elsewhere in response to woodwind solos, not encountered elsewhere in Toscanini's recorded performances. Overall, the performance benefits from the famed BBC S. O. wind section of the day which in its characterful and full-toned eloquence clearly elevates the third movement Adagio above that of the 1952 recording: as Spike Hughes commented of this movement: " ' doubt if there are many orchestras that could ever have set a quartet of woodwind principals in the field to compare with Messrs Murchie, MacDonagh, Thurston and Camden.' Taken overall this is not perhaps the tidiest of Toscanini's Ninths but it is one of the most eloquent and powerful. "
Restoration engineer Mark Obert-Thorn writes about the recording: "The source for this performance was a tape transfer made nearly four decades ago from a unique set of acetate discs which had been professionally recorded at the time of the original broadcast. Through years of playing, some sides had become more worn than others by the time of the original transfer. While the sound quality of certain portions of the broadcast rivals the best transcriptions of the time that of others (notably much of the third movement) is more reminiscent of a Mapleson cylinder in its unrelenting roar of surface noise. The discs also contained many fluctuations in pitch and volume that were corrected in the current transfer. Although the final results are hardly noise-free, listeners who can aurally screen out the imperfections of the source material will be rewarded with a compelling performance which is, even for the Toscanini canon, unique in its intensity and drive."
ARTURO TOSCANINI AND THE BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: An unissued performance from 1937! Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 ("Choral") with Isobel Baillie, soprano; Mary Jarred, mezzo-soprano; Parry Jones, tenor; Harold Williams, bass; BBC S. O. & Choral Society (Leader: Leslie Woodgate). Recorded during the performance of 3rd November 1937 in Queen's Hall, London. Total time: 64:45. Producer and Audio Restoration Engineer: Mark Obert-Thorn. [AAD] UPC # 17685-11442-7.