[From WETA's Mahler survey]
Otmar Suitner's 1963 LP for the East German VEB Schallplatten (People's-Owned Company - Records) with the Staatskapelle Dresden is the only truly exciting "First" that I have recently discovered for myself (save Haitink/CSO). Superb, rich mono sound, compelling conducting, wild climaxes, musicality and frenzy in perfect balance. Little wonder Berlin Classics has re-issued this on their "Eterna Collection"--both as a heavy vinyl LP and a beautifully produced CD with the original cover and liner notes. It further helps this release that it is coupled with an equally--or even more--gorgeous rendition of the "Songs of a Wayfarer". The (East-) Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under Kurt Sanderling and booming roundness of Herrmann Prey were recorded in 1961 and it'd all be a perfect match were it not for the considerable distortion. All the same a true joy to listen to.
[Top 5 Recording of Mahler Firsts]