Gielen, in my book, is one of the most underrated conductors of our era, joining the ranks with Skrowaczewski. Both of these men far, far, far outrank most of today's conductors that have major appointments.
Gielen's Mahler 2nd on Hanssler was a revelation--I can hardly wait to hear is 3rd on the same label, but in the mean time, I've been slowing acquiring Gielen's recordings put out by Intercord. This Bruckner 5 is one of my latest acquisitions.
Off the bat: the final mov't, the great double fugue, is very fine, but IMHO, he joins other excellent interperters of this score (Schuricht, Jochum) who fail to achieve the transcendence of Skrowaczewski on Arte Nova. But we're also talking about the last 3 minutes of the piece! However, Gielen excels in the I-III, carrying the listener along and even making this masterpiece sound short.
The orchestra plays well (as they usually do for Gielen), and the recording is good (although not amazing; I wish it was more open). It is worth acquiring, by all means.