Symphony 5th - best recording

My 3 year old son heard this on some kids show and wants the CD, I figured I can use this as an excuse to spend some $ on the finest recording I can find...any suggestions?
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Are you referring to Beethoven's 5th Symphony? If so, you'll be hard pressed to find any better performance than the great Carlos Kleiber performance with the Vienna Philharmonic on Deutsch Grammophone. It's a classic performance of the 5th. link
Ruston, LOL! Beethoven, no less! I want to clone that program and the kid as well. Imagine a program using music of that calibre for 3 year olds AND having a kid that hears it, can ID it, and ask for a CD of it! I approve!!!!!! :-)
Love the kid who loves the da-da-da-dummm. :-)
The Deustsche Grammaphone recording is also a speakers corner recommendation on vinyl. I own it and love it. Beethoven's 9th on MSFL vinyl rocks too. Lots of posts from me today, it's a snow day. Yippee!
It might be Mahler? Or Shostakovich? There are several "5ths" that are still world famous (even if they did not appear in "Clockwork Orange" which, btw, is not suitable for a three year old!)
I slightly prefer Reiner's to Kleiber's, although the latter is available on SACD (the DG sound might still be a bit harsh). The former will probably be re-issued on SACD. Szell with the Concertgeboew in a 24/96 re-mastering is also excellent. Boehm's VPO version is more relaxed than the others.
Sorry for the vague post, yes, I meant Bethoven's 5th. The program that he saw is Little's about 4 little kids in a rocket that travel around the globe. At the beginning of each show they introduce the music that they will be hearing.

Thanks for the great recommendations everyone.

Thanks for the compliment is a link to the show in case you have kids of your own:
Of course, Beethvoven! I don't have a favorite recording of it to recommend, but you might also might want to try the 6th for him--it's in Fantasia after all! Plus it has a story line that goes with it (that you could embellish). Anyway, good luck.
Now that we know for sure, I'm going to second Rustons recommendation. FWIW the performance is so outstanding that if you like this symphony you won't care about whether its the best 'audio' version. It is propulsive, grabs your in those first notes and never lets the tension relax. This is one of the few performances of anything that I feel might actually be definitive! :-)
eugene ormandy-beethoven's 5th and 6th-sony cd. superb
I was kind of doubting they would play the 5th by Mahler or Shostakovich on the kids show.....even though little Einsteins, but still......

I have Beethoven's 5th, conducted by Karajan on DG that is a very good performance and a good recording.
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Archiv Produktion). Positively the most historically accurate and exciting performances of all nine Beethoven Symphonies. The small orchestra performs Beethoven with a clarity unobtainable with a large modern orchestra. You'll hear parts and details you never knew were in the score. The dynamics are spectacular. The balance between classical and romantic stylistic interpretation is perfectly suited to the transitional time period of the music. And the recording quality is excellent.

But, of course, if you're used to the bloated sound of von Karajan's interpretation, or the overly romantic interpretation of Bernstein's, then you'll completely disagree.
Ojgalli, And if he only partially disagrees he might find Harnoncourt's set to be a refreshing alternative to either VK or Bernstein. But, if he wants period instruments and performance I think you're right on.

FWIW, for those looking for a complete set, I think Bernstein is often, and unjustly, overlooked. "While it may be 'bloated' he sure keeps my foot tapping! :-)
Now we have established that it is Beethoven, I am partial to Christopher Hogwood's version using instruments available at the time Beethoven was alive (or replicas)....rather than modern variations of these instruments.

That way you hear the performance closer to what the composer intended or heard or, in the case of Beethoven, may not have heard, except in his head.
I neglected to mention that Gardiner's set of Beethoven synphonies also uses period instruments, but I believe the smaller orchestra is even more crucial to interpreting the music as intended. Beethoven was very specific about the number of instruments and the tempi, actually indicating the metronome markings, not just general "allegro," "andante," "presto," etc. Perhaps Hogwood also uses the specified number of instruments per section.

A friend of mine who is partial to von Karajan's recordings didn't appreciate the Gardiner version. His comment was, "The tempi are so fast." I was puzzled, because they didn't seem too fast to me. Then I listened to the von Karajan; I felt the tempi were sluggish. So, I checked the timing. Turns out that the Gardiner tempi are usually slower! (Gardiner was also very attentive to the tempi specified by Beethoven.) The smaller orchestra is more nimble, more articulate, and much more energetic. That energy seems to create the impression of greater speed.

The beauty of music, however, is in the interpretation AND the infinite possibilities of interpretation.
I've got to side with Rushton, Kleiber's version is the one I keep coming back to. However, I just got a new SACD with Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra that I'm listening to tonight. Given how much I like their Third, Eighth and Ninth, this might be a contender.
No, no; he means Prokofieff's 5th, the best 20th century 5th (arguments may now proceed).

I don't know. Is (C) Kleiber's too driven and the DG sound too glassy? How about Karl Boem's on DG? Warmer sound and a more flowing performance. But I'll bet our three-year-old won't care.

Steve O.