CSO Resound - Mahler 1 SACD

I encourage you to pick up a copy of this recording of Mahler's 1st symphony, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Recorded in May of 2008 for the CSO's label CSO Resound. Conducted by Bernard Haitink. Issued on CD and SACD. Whether or not you like the performance is up to you, but the sonics on this one are amazing. Check it out.
And please pick-up copies of Mahler 1 by Kubelik, Horenstein, and Walter. What they lack in sonics are counterbalanced 10-fold by interpretation. Enjoy.
Sorry to disagree with your recommendations but: the Haitink/CSO Mahler Symphonies--1, 3, & 6 (so far, and hopefully no more)--are total disasters! They do have good sound, which just makes the lack of passion, drama and personality that much more evident. I had trouble believing that, in the 3rd, this was, really, the Chicago Symphony. Mr. Haitink's early Mahler series with the Concertgebouw is preferable but not a landmark in the Mahler discography.

For great sounding Mahler (remember, sound) sample the Chailly/Concertgebouw on Decca, or the Gielen/SWF Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden on Hänssler. For great performances and sound, the Bertini/Cologne on EMI is pretty much unbeatable.

Rtn's suggestions above are all excellent as would be the still-in-print Mahler recordings by Leonard Bernstein, and the out-of-print ones by Segerstam and de Waart.

The following is a great site if your interested in Mahler: www.gustavmahlerboard.com.

Haitink is a respected conductor, although I find his recorded Mahler and Bruckner to be overly thought-out and smooth to the point of removing all traces of life. Haitink has recorded as much Mahler as anyone, and the two performances I return to with frequency is #4. Ah, I wish his entire BPO cycle could sound as fresh as this #4, and Sylvia McNair is absolutely radiant and perfect for the part. The other one is a searing #5 from the Amsterdam live Christmas concerts - a hard to find box, but a cycle that trumps any of his other over-polished disasters.

I do like Haitink's Shostakovich. Really, a landmark set.

For sonics on modern recordings, I like Boulez' #1. An idiosyncratic performance , but it is awesome when Boulez 'let's er rip' with such a powerful orchestra. Too bad he rushes the beautiful Juliane Banse on the recording - he didn't in the live concert. Maybe he had another recording to make that day. I also like the Bernstein DG box as the most satisfying set on whole.
Err, sorry. Juliane Banse is on Boulez' Mahler 4. I must be making-up songs now. Anyway, Boulez tends to rush #1 in addition to #4.
Perhaps the most widely admired living Mahler conductor among professional musicians right now is Claudio Abbado. Though some of his recordings do not have the best sonics, they are all well worth listening to.