I purchased this CD specifically for the Shostakovich 5, having seen the Dresden PO and Sanderling perform it in Bristol a few weeks ago.
I am not a musicologist and do not sit with a score on my knee while I listen to music, but in my view this is an excellent recording which should satisfy anyone looking for a fine performance of this symphony. The recording sounds technically excellent and is wonderfully transparent, with excellent orchestral detail – one might almost say analytical, which is not necessarily a good thing in Shostakovich, but I like it here. It makes, for example, the Gergiev version with the Mariinsky Orchestra sound occasionally slightly muddy by comparison. Gergiev brings a little more variation in tempi, which can make for slightly more excitement in places, but there’s not a lot in it. The Dresden principals (“soloists”) are excellent. I prefer that cataclysmic ending in this version over Gergiev’s; in the latter I find it a bit rushed, whereas Sanderling is somewhat more measured, which in my opinion suits it better.
I’m not convinced the dynamic range is quite as wide on the CD as it was in the concert hall (for me that was one of the marvels of the live performance in Bristol), but this may be deliberate so you don’t feel the need to keep reaching for the volume knob!
All things considered I would highly recommend this version of the Shostakovich. The reason I have given only four stars is the coupling. If it’s the Beethoven 5 you’re after, look to Carlos Kleiber and the Vienna Philharmonic. This one from Dresden is perfectly good, but lacks the drive of the Vienna/Kleiber recording.