I'm going to go with Maris Jansonn/Concertgebou for the 5th. Very good performance and very good sonics. I don't have a complete cycle that is uniformly good. I do like the David Zinman on RCA, especially the 3rd and 10th.
MTT on SFSO (SACD) His 5th is excellent.
Abbado on EuroArts and Accentus (BluRay) #8 yet to come
Many (perhaps too many) excellent Mahler sets but you get to choose.
If you like Bernstein, "Mahler: The Complete Symphonies" box set has Lenny and the NYP at their best. It contains performances from the 1960s and has the most amazing remastering of any classical CD I've ever heard.
For a single 5th with good sound, try Abbado/Berlin Philharmonic (1993)
Abbado is one of the greatest interpreters of Mahler for sure. I don't know if his most recent recordings with the Lucerne Festival are available on CD, though, they might be just DVD.
Bernstein and Abbado are great Mahler conductors for sure, but the recordings are not really audiophile quality. I still like Abbado best of all on the first, Bernstein on the 2nd, Zinnman on the third, Solti on the 4th, Jansons on the 6th, Bernstein then Abbado on the 6th, Zinman again on the 7th, no favorite on the 8th or 9th, and Zinnman on the 10th. I have not heard any of the MTT recordings.
Thanks to each of you! The Bernstein box sounds like a good place to start. Abbado for an independent 1st and 5th seem to be reasonable to purchase as well. Again.. thanks.
I can, unabashedly, say that I have heard most of these and find something appealing in almost all of them. However, the OP was asking for "audiophile quality" and, for me, that means a well-balanced and high resolution recording. This eliminates all the Bernsteins, unfortunately.
However, the Abbados on BluRay are superb in every way as are the MTTs and many others on SACD (Chailly, Boulez, Jansons, etc.) Zinman doesn't move me and the sound is only OK, imho.
If you are looking for high quality audiophile approved recordings, MMT's performances are easily some of the best CD's available. As with everything else, however, his performances may or may not be your cup of tea, but I too can recommend his 5th. Zanders performances of Mahler on Telarc are also excellent recordings and include a CD in which Zander discusses the symphony.
Performance wise, if you like your Mahler a little more expressive, consider either Bernstein cycle. You can't go wrong, except with the Vienna Phil set on DG you may want to substitute out the 9th for his recording of it live with the Berlin SO recorded live in 1979, an outstanding performance I think!
To me the Solti/Chicago set is better than Bernstein.
To my ears the best sounding set, at least on redbook. is the Phillips Haitink/Concertgebouw. He also has the great Maureen Forrester and Ely Ameling not to mention the Amsterdam Chorus.
Haitink is less "sturm and drang" than most which I like better myself. YMMV
Off subject I know, but I am just listening to a wonderful live BBC Promenade concert of Mahlers 2nd by the Bavarian Radio Symphony, conductor Mariss Jansons. I don't know if you colonials can get quality internet feeds or Radio transmissions of the Proms. If you can, this Summer series of 7 day a week daily concerts on BBC Radio 3, is not called the worlds best concert series for nothing.
The Complete Ring cycle in Concert performance by Barenboihm 2 weeks ago, was just magical. CD and LP get a break when these concerts are on every year from July to September.
Best sounding Mahler cycle? It is a question very difficult
Since Haitink is mentioned here, should Kubelik, Tennstedt,
Sinopoli and Boulez be nominated for a fair comparison?
Also for East European interpretations, there are cycles of
Neumann and Kondrashin available.
Best sounding Mahler cycle? It is a question very difficult
I would put none of the ones you mention in the category of "best sounding" although they each have their felicities with regard to performance.
Brownsfan and I really like our classical; just want to clarify one thing. The Bernstein box set is a technical achievement in remastering, but not audiofile. But the old style of mic'ing and mixing the orch and great sonics makes it more pleasurable to listen to than many modern recordings.
The Lenny/VPO is early digital with terrific sound. The soundstage is very open with lots of detail. I say both are worthwhile.
Wow! I don't know the comment can be this definite ("....none of the ones....") and critical in this forum. For a person posted more than 1850 answers in all categories, the person must be extremely knowledgeable.
Please discard my naive suggestion.
But it is nice to see Newbee and Brownsfan are here.
Let me retire from this conversation. Excuse me!
Robsker, I didn't realize you wanted reco's on Mahler #1. There are a lot of excellent #1's, in fact I think it is one of the easier to perform, record, and listen to. But, that said, if you haven't already pulled the plug on this, do consider Zander's #1 on Telarc, and not just because of it's recording but because of it's disc mate Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen sung by Christopher Maltman, a fine performance of one of Mahler's orchestral lieder.
While I'm sure there are quite a few recordings of either piece that folks might prefer, none will be found together on CD that I am aware of, and to my ear both pieces fit together as if there were meant to be heard as recorded here. It gets a lot of play time at my home.
And, if you are late to come to Mahler's lieder, its is a great piece and recording to start out with.
Newbee, thanks for opening the door on the Lieder! My hands down favorite is the Bis recording (Malkki& Karneus) of Kindertotenlieder, RuckkertLieder, and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. Oh my, I do love this recording!
I agree with the BIS, if they ever made a bad recording I've never heard it and BIS is always my go if sound is primary.
Who ever produces this label is the very epitome of good taste.
Schubert...BIS is very mysterious; their website says that Naxos is their distributor. Have you ever made a purchase?
Just saw the Zander is recording the Mahler 2 on Linn. Called a "new partnership." Not really a huge fan of Zander, but a Mahler 2 on Linn is going to get my money. Late September release in GB, probably a little later in the US.
Hey, Yu11375, I was trying to keep this on-topic and was not criticising your general recommendations.
My love for Bernstein's Mahler knows few bounds. His NYPO M2 turned me on to Mahler and his late 6th DG is, imho, unsurpassed. I will never forget his last performances of the M2 and Das Lied von der Erde with the NYPO.
I also treasure the Sinopoli, Kubelik, Neumann and Boulez recordings (and I did mention Boulez' more recent ones on SACD).
However, aside from the recent Boulez SACDs/BluRays, I would not recommend any as "audiophile quality" and that was what the OP asked for. If he had not made that qualification, I would not have commented on your post.
BTW, there is a spectacularly-recorded set being made by Marcus Bosch on Oehms. Some are, also, excellent performances. And I second the recommendation of the Zander/Maltman recording.
A definitive answer to the OP's question of audiophile quality is any of Zander's Mahler releases on Telarc. Although, I wouldn't consider Zander a top Mahlerian conductor, the Redbook CDs sound superb.
Lowrider, Yes I have about 40 BIS CD's -Naxox distributes doesn't make. Buy most in huge used store in St.Paul.
I look for current Nordic composers, stuff coming out of Sweden, Estonia and esp. Finland is fascinating to me.
thanks Schubert. I guess I'll have to use Google and Naxos. (BIS has a catalog).
Lowrider, Bis is available from all the usual on line outlets. As Schubert indicated, the artistic and sound quality is uniformly good, Very good label!
Just remembered, If you want the definitive Mahler 1, Jascha Horenstein with the LSO is it.
It was on Nonesuch LP for a long time, last time I saw one I belive it was on Unicorn CD.
All his Mahler is fab,I don't remember the sound, if you do find one I bet it ain't cheap.
You're right, Schubert. Prices for the Unicorn CD at Amazon
range from $46 used to $52+ new, with one seller asking $130.
I'd give $46 for one if I didn't have the LP.