The best of 15 often recommended recordings
... then my opinion on the present recording by Haenchen, which in my view is the best
in my collection of more than 15 recordings of Mahler's 5th. ...
I think Haenchen has 1) a first movement among the best, when it comes to responding to Mahler's «In gemessemem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Konduct». Streng (Strict) is the key word; the funeral marsch is about facing tragedy with dignity. Haenchen delivers....
2) a second movement that is almost as good as the very best ...
3) a third movement which is on the brisk side, but never feels hurried, but that is a matter of habit, perhaps,
4) an adagietto which is timed almost perfectly at Mahler's own tempos, and is good, if not excellent,
5) a finale which without any shade of doubt is the very best of all the recordings
I've listened to, with clear contrapuntal lines and very much joy, yes, it is fresh and giocoso, a wonderful celebration!