This is an oustanding set, full of detail, that stands repeated listening without any trace of fatigue. In fact I find that each time I hear it I discover something new about the work and continue to admire the interpretation and performance. As a SACD set of two discs the dynamic range is very wide, so that when the vocal alto soloist (Petra Lang who is superb) comes in, the sound volume contrasts strongly with the orchestral climaxes in the earlier movements. This phenomen can take a little time to get accustomed, but it is a realistic level that one encounters in a live performance in the concert hall. Nevertheless on good quality hi fi equipment it gives an accurate and thrilling sound very much reminding me of the live performances of Mahler works that I heard under Chailly in the Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The clarity of the Decca sound is marvellous with a huge dynamic range, massive banks of sound when the orchestra is at full bore contrasted with very quiet passages and lots of instrumental detail.
The final movement is marvellous with the fantastic ending on the double sets of drums that is absolutely perfect and far, far better than any other version of the work that I have ever heard(Haitink two versions: Concertgebouw and the Chicago Symphony, Rattle: City of Birmingham Symphony, Abbado: Berlin Philharmonic live, Tennsted:The London Philharmonic and finally Gergiev: The London Symphony live). I believe Chailly was voted top recording of this work on BBC Radio 3 CD Review, an opinion I fully endorse from my frequent listening of the performance. While I enjoy all the other performances that I have mentioned, Chailly is the recording to live with!