I wish DG would re-issue this box set at an affordable price. These are absolute classic recordings of Mahler which should be allowed to circulate as a complete set/cycle again.
I first listened to Mahler when my father gave me some cassettes of classical music as a teenager - to get me away from heavy metal for a while...and Abbado's rendering of the 4th symphony was amongst them. It was the incandescent third movement - every exquisite chord and counterpoint spiralling with beauty and melancholy - that won me over. And I've never looked back.
I've listened to a lot of conductors of Mahler since, and quite enjoy reading the barbs and criticisms that Mahler scholars throw around, but Abbado's vision has stayed with me. (I was watching film footage recently of him conducting the Gustav Mahler Jurgen Orchestra in Vienna - the 4th again - and it was heart-rendingly powerful.)