Mahler's Fourth Symphony is his shortest and quietest. There is little of the loudness and drama found in his other symphonies and its feeling is somewhat like a pleasant walk in the country on a bright sunny day. Your response to Abbado's interpretation of the work will depend on the way you like your Mahler. If your taste is for heart on sleeve extraversion, Abbado is not the man for you. There is hardly an ounce of fat on this performance; it is a gentle, understated rendition that seems at pains to emphasize the lyrical aspects of the work. It is very well played by the estimable Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra. Juliane Banse, too closely filmed at times, has a darkish voice which is not entirely suited to the part.
I turned to Bernstein's 1973 DG DVD for a comparison. Despite the substandard filming and sound, I felt that Bernstein, without going over the top,better captured the essence of the work by injecting some personality and energy into the symphony. But, as I said before, it depends the way you like your Mahler.
The Schoenberg Pelleas et Mellisande makes a valuable coupling. The actual performance is preceeded by an introduction to this somewhat difficult tone poem. Additionally, subtitles are available which explain the progress of the work. Abbado and the GMYO give an excellent rendition of Schoenberg's relatively early composition.
The sound and filming (in the same Vienna venue as the Bernstein) are excellent. Recommended with minor reservations.