Well, I paid almost 50 bucks for my copy of Bernstein’s M2 here (totally out of stock) even when I already had it on my PC and it’s probably my most treasured CD!!! I usually recommend this one because I think it’s better to start with something really impressive than with something ‘easier’. Perhaps the easiest M symph would be his 4th -something like B’s 6th in his output- but I don’t think it could make a novice that interested. Of course I’d never introduce somebody to classical music with this one but that was not your case.<P><BR>This is my Mahler ranking:<P>2nd - Bernstein NYPO 1988 DG<BR>5th - Chailly, Royal Concertgebouw, London<BR>9th - Boulez, Chicago SO, DG (not the most popular choice but it’s great to me)<BR>8th - Abbado, BPO, DG<BR>6th - Bernstein, NYPO, DG<BR>3rd - Salonen, LA Phil, Sony <BR>4th - Bernstein Royal Concertgebouw, DG<BR>1st - I don't know of a really good version. I downloaded mine and I don't know neither the orchestra nor the conductor.<P>------------- Out of Ranking <P>7th (I haven't heard it yet)<BR>10th Rattle, BPO (Mahler only finished the Adagio -1st mvt-) <P>This could be a good itinerary:<BR>2, 5, 4, 9, 3, 8, 1, 6, 10, 7 (many mahlerites don't like this last one)<P>PS: I know all these recommendations are really, REALLY good. (I have them and I bought them after proper advices) but I'd suggest you to go to the Mahler forum every time you are going to buy a new symphony. Many dudes there sometimes have more than 30 versions of each one
and they are very cooperative on these and other matters. (I remember having received advices about like 50 versions of M9!!) <A HREF="http://www.linefeed.com/mahler/discussmain.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.linefeed.com/mahler/discussmain.html</A> <P>Best wishes, Luis.