This is a live Blu-ray recording (DTS HD DTS Digital Surround PCM Stereo) of a May, 2011 performance of the Leipzig Gewandhaus, conducted by Richardo Chailly, feturing soprano Christiane Oelze and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly.
It is beautifully photographed, with the cameras and editors showing a superb understanding of being in-close on the right instruments at the right time. It's a great way to see where what you're hearing is coming from. And the sound in this performance is as beautifully recorded as the images!
All sections of the orchestral parts are excellently done. The timpani sounds are incredibly good, both when loud and soft, they are dramatically impressive. Rarely will you hear the harps so clearly! Yes, in the Urlicht, the trumpets are muted with cloth covers over the bells.
Early in the 3rd movement, the "St. Antonius von Padua preaching to the fish," we get an excellent opportunity to see the rutes in action--and you can hear them in this recording far better than in any others I've heard.
Chailly is alert, "alive," and totally involved throughout the entire performance.
In the Urlicht, Sarah Connolly sings passionately, with each syllable perfectly timed and precisely articulated. I wouldn't change a note!
In the final movement, at the "Unsterblich Leben, wird, der dich rief dir geben," the soprano, Christiane Oelze is right on with every note, sung with expressiveness, without falling prey to the excessive vibrato that sometimes is noted at this point. If you are a Mahlerian, I don't think you can hear her "und sammelt Garben uns ein--die starben" without tears filling your eyes--and your soul. That's what Mahler, done well, does to many of us. It's an experience to carry you to heaven.