This bargain CD incarnates a classic recording: Václav Neumann, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, 1967 - Gustav Mahler, Symphony no. 5.
Václav Neumann recorded Mahler's fifth symphony twice (as he also did with the seventh, sixth, and ninth symphonies ). The present edition from Brilliant Classics is yet another incarnation of his 1967 recording, with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (the same performance is also available from Berlin Classics, in their "Basics" series (see Sym 5). Now Neumann recorded the fifth a second time in 1977, for Supraphon. While that performance also has its merits, it is no match for the present outstanding recording.
First, Neumann's interpretation is of higher voltage in this earlier Leipzig recording. This is especially evident in the adagietto, a beautiful, intense, and flowing performance, which stops at 9.40. But, of course, the other movements are also stunning. Second, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig 1967 is superior to Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in their 1977 incarnation. Third, this recording is technically superior, with its spacious and warm analogue sound, in contrast to the sterile sound Supraphon produced in 1977.
I want to rank the 1967 Neumann among the finest Mahler fifths on record. I think it needs to be rediscovered - as also is the case with his other early Mahler recordings (the seventh and ninth in particular, which are both outstanding).
(NB: the trumpet is NOT out of tune/playing the wrong key, as another reviewer here claims. It is just a case of a less than perfect instrument, typical for the orchestras behind the Iron Curtain during the time of this recording.)