EMI, king of the reissue, allows you to buy Jansons' late-Nineties Rachmaninov cycle in any number of ways. This First Sym. was the last installment, recorded in St. Petersburg in 1999, and it's miles away from the usual article we got from the Soviet Union. Even the most acclaimed conductors, like Kondrashin and Svetlanov (I don't know of any Rachmaninov symphonies from the great Mravinsky) made this music sound brash and thrusting, with coarse brass playing and a sorry lack of finesse.
Jansons, by contrast, manages to sound Russian but without the coarseness. His tactic with this sprawling, discursive symphony is to make it sound beautiful from bar to bar -- he's almost suave -- and that helps us get past the long rambles Rachmaninov takes in place of real development. The St. Petersburg Phil. gives Jansons a refined sound wihtout over-lushness or exaggerated Hollywood swoons. Some may find this approach a little dry, but I was happy to come ashore. (Rachmaninov always made me a bit seasick in heavy doses.) As a touchstone, compare Jansons' finale, which is rousing without trying to burn the house down, and Svetlanov's famous rendition on Moscow Studio (originally on the state label, Melodiya), which is brash and militaristic.
In all, this is one of the best Rachmaninov Firsts in the catalog, now selling at an irresistible price.