Excellent Wagner, very good Brahms
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 02/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To his admirers, Guido Cantelli was the heir apparent to Toscanini, who also saw him that way, inviting the charismatic young conductor to lead his NBC Sym. many times. EMI also picked Cantelli up for studio recordings like these two, a Siegfried Idyll from 1951 and Brahms First from 1953, now reissued by Testament.
Cantelli was a disciplined, intense musician but also a bit without personality. I can't tell his Brahms First from half a dozen others in the lean Toscanini-Szell style, though the finale is surprisingly slow and without tension. The best movements are the inner two, where Cantelli displays remarkable concentration in keeping the line moving with intensity and interest. The sonics are average for the period, a bit dim and boxy. I enjoyed the Siegfired Idyll more, a work I'm not particularly fond of. Cantelli's version, again in average sound, is light and songful, with nice touches of phrasing. In all, I felt about this CD what I feel about Cantelli in general, that as wonderful as he was, the intervening years have brought us many performances as good as those he made duing his short career."