I purchased this CD from Amazon after having read an extremely positive music review in the March '09 issue of Gramophone magazine. In addition to praising the performance in general, the reviewer emphasized that this is the only truly complete recording available of the Peer Gynt incidental music. Having known and loved the Per Dreier/London Symphony recording also billed as "complete" (released in 1978), I was intrigued by this new recording -- evidently a great opportunity to get to hear yet more music from Grieg's highly interesting score.
Well ... it turns out there's really no additional MUSIC in this new rendition, unless you count several brief instances of "country fiddlin' around a la Norsk" played in a (deliberately) untrained manner. Otherwise, the new material consists of stretches of plain spoken dialogue (with no accompaniment), along with some wild screaming by the Herd Girls/Trolls/Troll King's Daughter -- again using untrained voices -- that gives a frightful new meaning to the term "descant." On subsequent listening, I was able to program out the dialogue, but not the shrieking of the trolls/women/hags, unfortunately.
Another irritating aspect of the recording is the conductor's decision to include portions of Peer Gynt's dialogue overtop some of Grieg's most memorable music. So, for instance, we get to hear Peer's frantic storytelling while his mother lays dying. This would be great for watching a DVD of an actual production of the play, but on a CD recording it just gets in the way. There are numerous other occasions where Peer shouts and wails above the orchestra -- and the listener starts to become as long-suffering as Peer's poor wife Solveig.
The music itself is played very well -- about on par with the Per Dreier/LSO recording. Conductor Engeset whips the Malmo Orchestra players into a nice frenzy at times. The Naxos recording has two other things going for it: the inclusion of two filler items that are rarely heard and thus worth getting to know ... as well as its budget price. And for "total completists," I imagine this would be the Peer Gynt performance to buy.
But if you're looking for a recording of 95%+ of the music that doesn't include the spoken dialogue (in an obscure Norwegian dialect to boot), or piercingly loud screeching and cackling overtop the music at the most inopportune moments, I recommend sticking with the Per Dreier recording, which also boasts great sonics and sounds like it was recorded yesterday.