Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
You may have already discussed this, but DA have you heard the Kaplan M2 with the VPO? The more I hear it, the more I like it - It's probably the best sounding recording of anything I've ever heard, and the playing (especially in the brass) is without equal. Since it is a purely Mahlerian (no conductor ego) interpretation, I would argue that it is THE reference M2 in the true sense of the word; e.g. a baseline with which to compare other recordings.
This is my favorite M2. It is probably one of the best recordings made in the last five or ten years. Pretty much anything off the Boulez Mahler cycle is great, too. The performance is quite excellent, too. I have heard this accused of being too studied, but I think Mahler would have loved it. Finally, a conductor that did exactly
what he told him to. Also, I am sure Mahler's ego would have loved the idea that a fabulously wealthy person dropped what he was doing to devote his life to Mahler.
Kaplan managed to get a really quite triumphant performance out of an orchestra that didn't appreciate Mahler during his lifetime, and has been occasionally spotty in their interpretation. The first movement is probably the best ever performed. Even Klemperer is slightly off what I consider to be the mark from time to time.
Doc is right: this one, being as faithful to the score and interpretatively neutral as it is, should be the reference M2.