Superbly played and vivid realisation of a work which is not in fact one of my favourite Mahler symphonies - but if any recording could convert a listener it is this.
The performance is pretty expansive (nigh-on 90 mins) but remarkably well sustained, in the outer movements especially, although the 2nd movement is also intensely played. The great Finale is gripping throughout, at a slowish tempo (28+ mins - 10 mins longer than Bruno Walter's famous 1938 recording!) - with the refinement of the string playing coming across superbly - as do the characterful winds and powerful timpani. The weight of sound at climaxes is remarkably powerful while the closing pages have a vivid presence despite the string playing at a dynamic barely above a whisper.
Sonically this is an excellent multi-channel SACD, in 4.0 (with no centre channel). Strangely enough I think the Concertgebouw Orchestra are actually better caught in this recording than on the recent Chailly Mahler 3 which is in 5.1.
The vividness, warmth and clarity are remarkable - I thought the sound from the rear channels was more than full enough, almost being too prominent (as on Tilson Thomas' Mahler 1 with the San Francisico SO) but not quite. If it's easy on your system you could turn them down a couple of notches in fact.
This is the only tiny flaw which prevents it from being nigh-on perfect, although this SACD surpasses most others in the almost tangible quality of the orchestral sound which for most listeners will be more than adequate compensation.