Guido Cantelli = MOUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition; WAGNER: Eine Faust Overture; Siegfried’s Rhine Journey; ROUSSEL: Sinfonietta for Strings in D Minor; BERLIOZ: Hungarian March; VIVALDI: Concerto in A Minor – NY Philharmonic & NBC Sym. – Guild

by | Sep 5, 2007 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

Guido Cantelli = MOUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition; WAGNER: Eine Faust Overture; Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from Gotterdammerung; ROUSSEL: Sinfonietta for Strings in D Minor, Op. 52; BERLIOZ: Hungarian March from The Damnation of Faust; VIVALDI: Concerto in A Minor, Op. 3, No. 8, RV 522 – Daniel Guilet, violin (Vivaldi) – Remo Bolognini, violin(Vivaldi)/ New York Philharmonic Orchestra (Moussorgsky, Wagner)/ NBC Symphony Orchestra/ Guido Cantelli

Guild GHCD 2328,  79:41  (Distrib. Albany) ****:

Guild has restored, in beautiful sound, a series of 1951-1953 broadcasts under the baton of Guido Cantelli (1920-1956), all inscribed in concert from Carnegie Hall, with its much improved sonics over the NBC’s standard venue at Studio 8-H in New York. Cantelli himself was an electrical figure in music, lithe and galvanized directly in the Toscanini tradition, although selected tempos and breadth of transitions revealed an equally strong Germanic culture in his otherwise Mediterranean interpretations. The Moussorgsky suite (29 March 1953) proves most vivid, with brilliant trumpet work (James Vacchiano?) throughout. Several of the pieces in the Ravel orchestration quite raise the hackles on one’s neck–the Bydlo, for instance–and the level of virtuosity in the presto sections, like the Chicks’ Ballet and the Limoges Market, sweep one away with brisk, immaculate articulation in the parts. Besides the usual crowd-pleasers, like Baba Yaga and The Great Gate of Kiev, the descent into Catacombs conveys a dark, mystic power.

Like his mentor and idol Toscanini, Cantelli was a fierce Wagner acolyte, and these performances (22 March 1953) move from methodical slowness to blazing apotheoses. The high, taut line in Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, the flaring trumpets and singing strings, have the impatient audience roused to a fine fever by the last chord, when it explodes in appreciation. Collectors will recall that the pirate AS Disc label published the 15 December 1951 Roussel Sinfonietta, a dark, modal work with its own ideas of lyricism. The Romantic impulse in Cantelli is satisfied by the Hungarian March by Berlioz, here a virtuoso vehicle for the NBC trumpets and battery. Cantelli often programmed the music of Vivaldi–like The Seasons–trying in his own way to promote the “authenticity” movement by featuring harpsichord and cello continuo. The A Minor Concerto from L’Estro Armonico proceeds rather gently, considering the shattering bravura of the rest of the program, and soli Guilet and Bolognini seem to have had a merry time. This disc makes a fine cross section of a gifted, vital personality in music who died too soon.

— Gary Lemco

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