The orchestra did not particularly like his music

'Mahler was not often played in Berlin and the orchestra frankly confess that they did not particularly like his music - "but," said one of the principals, "Sir John made us love it as much as he did himself..."'
That quote from Michael Kennedy's biography of Sir John Barbirolli dates from Glorious John's 1963 performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic. I was reminded of it hearing Claudio Abbado conducting the BPO in the same symphony on BBC Radio 3 this afternoon. The recording that resulted from Barbirolli's 1963 Berlin visit features here.

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