Although entirely persuaded by the stimulating customer reviews of this magical disc, I'm inclined to regard it as a companion to, rather than an "improvement" on, Tilson-Thomas's recording of "The Desert Music". Certainly, Pierson's daring tempos and the crystal-clear articulation of his remarkable young players make for a radically more detailed sound-frame (although I wondered whether the voices were perhaps too forwardly placed). The "chamber" reduction has a wonderful intimacy and it is virtually impossible to find fault with such a perceptive, intellectually cogent performance.
And yet I do miss some of the craggy grandeur of Tilson-Thomas's reading. Under his direction, the final (fast) section seems to be imbued with a curious, unearthly luminosity. There is also a ripeness of articulation (particularly in the brass at key moments) not found in the brighter, more analytical new recording.
So, if we can happily oscillate between Klemperer and Eliot-Gardiner in Beethoven (well, I can, but I drink a lot), why can't we do the same with Tilson-Thomas and Pierson in Reich?