Funny how people can disagree -- I thought the Adagietto was the only "disappointment" with this recording (so "only" 4 stars). A little lacking in tension, a little too relaxed and easygoing.
Still, it's the most beautifully played, paced and recorded fifth movement I've heard. Incredible detail; if you've got a high-end stereo you'll probably reach for this recording to show off your stuff. The imaging, spaciousness, presence and dynamic range leave little to be desired. It's worth buying to hear the arrival of the chorale after a perfect buildup. The nobly descending trombone line and yelping horns, the timpani resonating ten feet beneath the floor, and the melting, devotional way the brass players sing the chorale -- goosebump material. The *huge* burst of the chorale tune's second phrase, the most effective I've ever heard on CD. It wants to take the roof off my house each time I play it. The breakneck final bars will take your breath away, again with a one-two punch of splendid detail and overwhelming power.
BTW, mvts. 1-3 are equally satisfying...A memorable scherzo, just right in the soft moments, with the wonderful acoustic atmosphere of the Concertgebouw clearly captured. You can sense Chailly really working to sustain tension in mvt. 2, where the accents and dynamic contrasts are played to the hilt. The funeral march is at exactly the right tempo, and rightly sounds here like the single most "Mahlerian" movement of all.
The Amsterdam Concertgebouw is one of the few orchestras (Vienna also) still to enjoy a sound all their own. In a world becoming increasingly homogeneous, this is something to treasure.