When these two recordings were issued in 1957 (not together on the same LP), the Gramophone was dismissive. The Pastorale got short shrift for being literal. The fifth fared even worse. Not only did the reviewer call Munch's approach literal again but underlined this by claiming that there was no expressivity at all, that long passages sounded like exercises. The corker was a sentence near the end: "This, in a very faithful recording, soon begins to tire the ears--just as the Boston Orchestra does in the concert hall, when Munch is conducting it."
Unfortunately, if one ignores the jab at Munch, the reviewer was right. both readings are literal and loud. There's hardly a measure played under mezzo forte, even when the score calls for much softer dynamics. The bSO did a lot of sloppy playing in the Munch era, and that is evident in the fifth in the blatty horns and trombones; there's a particularly coarse first clarinet, too. I heard the orchestra many times after Leinsdorf arrived, but he didn't exercise his power to fire poor players, so these faults continued.
The Pastorale is given a blunt, humorless reading that is completely without charm. It, too, is loud and coarse, making it abundantly clear that Munch had no love for Beethoven and little ability to interpret him. It's just one foot after the other and when can we go home? A sad misfire. For me the only bright note is the splendid Living Stereo sound, which holds up beautifully.