Obviously, any appreciation of any performance is entirely subjective; that being said, this really would be my first choice in Mahler's fine Fourth Symphony. From the first note it is obvious that Szell is going to let the music breathe. Nothing hurried, as is the case with so many performances. If speed is your criterion, better look elsewhere. Szell has always struck me as meticulous in his tempi and this fourth is no exception. The Cleveland orchestra respond to their conductor as though conductor and musicians form one organic whole. Again, that is no more than one has come to expect from these forces. And the sound from Sony is nothing short of stunning! I played this with my 5.1 speakers giving full service and was nearly lifted from my seat. Just like being seated among the players, although that, of course won't be everybody's cup of tea. No need: the Sony engineers have, as always, risen to the occasion.
So what about the soprano soloist? Judith Raskin has just the right timbre to infuse Mahler's verses with that hint of child-like innocence that he surely had in mind. No need to worry on that score - a big bouquet to the lady.
The Songs of a Wayfarer needed a slight adjustment downwards in volume. Here the London Philharmonic, Andrew Davis and Frederica von Stade give good value, although, obviously, the chief attraction of the disc is the Symphony. Buy it and you won't be disappointed.
This item appeared to be out of stock at the time I ordered it and I had a lengthy wait (eleven weeks!) for Amazon to complete the order, but complete it they did. It was decidely worth the wait!