This recording, made in 1958, is a remarkable technical and musical achievement in this newly remastered format. Musically it is one of the, if not the absolute, best performances I have ever heard of this symphony. Technically it stands comparison with Blu-ray productions such as those by Abbado and Gergiev in so far as every last detail that Reiner brings out is faithfully and clearly reproduced by the recording. What a fabulous orchestra the CSO was under Reiner!
The performance itself radiates a sunny atmosphere with Reiner keeping a light hand on the myriad textures that Mahler develops. The larger moments certainly fully rise to the occasion with plenty of weight - those towards the end of the first movement and the big climax of the slow movement especially. Otherwise this comes over as very much a joyful symphony with a pastoral flavour and very much Bohemian countryside. The solo violin is correctly kept within the texture of the orchestra so does not become dominant like a concerto soloist and so the proportions are retained as Mahler surely envisioned. Lisa Della Casa proves to be the perfect choice of singer for the last movement, perfectly matching Reiner's vision - and vision it is.
I would suggest that this is a very important musical document and fully deserving of serious consideration from anyone interested in this symphony. For those wondering if the latest remastering would justify replacing earlier copies, the answer on this occasion is, in my opinion, a very clear 'yes.'