||Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
conductor Guido Cantelli
Recorded live at Carnegue Hall in 1954
XR remastering by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, May 2012
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Guido Cantelli
Original recordings from the collection of Keith Bennett
Total duration: 68:01
©2012 Pristine Audio.
Download ID: 1601262-65
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Cantelli in superb form with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony
1954 broadcast concert recording from Carnegie Hall
CHERUBINI Symphony in D [notes / score]
- R. STRAUSS Tod und Verklärung [notes]
BUSONI Berceuse élégiaque, Op. 42 [notes / score]
- BUSONI Tanzwalzer, Op. 53 [notes / score]
Recorded live 21 March 1954 Carnegie Hall, New York
Original recordings from the collection of Keith Bennett
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
Guido Cantelli conductor
FLAC downloads include scores of works by Cherubini and Busoni
Notes by Keith Bennett
The works for this programme is interesting. As far as the Cherubini symphony is concerned a more comprehensive account is to be found on Pristine Audio PASC 319, a CD which also includes Strauss’s Tod und Verklärung both being part of Cantelli’s 29th appearance with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on 27 December 1952. On this present CD the performance of the Cherubini is only fractionally quicker than the rendition given by the NBC Symphony Orchestra but there is a more substantial difference for the Strauss - 22:21 here as opposed to 23:28 in the earlier performance. Incidentally, that 1952 performance is closer both to Strauss’s and Toscanini’s interpretations.
However, collectors will be more interested in having the two pieces by Busoni. The composer was profoundly affected by the death of his mother on 3 October 1909 and he returned to a little piece for piano entitled Berceuse which he had composed earlier in the year. He conceived the extended orchestral version which we know as Berceuse élégiaque and this was completed on 27 October 1909. For once in his life Busoni carried out the menial task of writing out the orchestral parts no doubt because he was very much aware that the work contained a number ‘singular harmonies and instrumental harmonies which have not yet been approved’ and it took a half hour rehearsal with the Queen’s Hall Orchestra (granted by Henry Wood) on 1 November 1909 for Busoni to be satisfied that what he had written and now had the opportunity of hearing was what he intended. The score is specific regarding the number of musicians required and rarely departs from Andantino calmo only rising to forte briefly in its 118 bars. Even if some commentators feel that the work is not significant in Busoni’s oeuvre, that is not what the composer himself felt about it explaining ‘I have succeeded for the first time in creating an individual sound and dissolving the form into feeling’: from the listeners standpoint the near static tempo, Andantino calmo, creates the numbness of grief.
Although Oskar Fried ran through the work in 1910 with the Berliner Philharmoniker, it had to wait until 21 February 1911 for its first performance when Gustav Mahler included the work in 1911 for its first performance in a concert consisting of mainly of Italian music at his final concert in New York. The composer acknowledged the applause from a box: in that box was Arturo Toscanini and when Busoni wrote to his wife he mentioned that the Italian conductor had expressed great admiration for the piece. Toscanini gave six performances with the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York between 1929 and 1932, but then there was a considerable gap until he gave a performance with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on 13 March 1948.
Cantelli recorded the work with the Orchestra Stabile dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia on 10 May 1949 and initially approved the recording for issue on 21 September. However, after he had taken the test pressings for Toscanini to hear he adamantly refused to countenance the release. Was it just a coincidence that Toscanini conducted the piece again on 10 December 1949?
Cantelli was due to begin his second stint with the NBC Symphony Orchestra on 24 December and he could already have been in New York at the time of what was to be Maestro’s final performance of the Berceuse élégiaque: perhaps Toscanini was showing his younger colleague just how it should be played. Interestingly, although the Berceuse élégiaque can be numbered as among Cantelli’s core repertoire (he gave 28 performances with twelve orchestras) it was not until 1951 that he programmed the work in the USA and never once did he include the work during his stints with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The composer’s suggestion for a performance was approximately 10:00: of the two Toscanini performances (which were made available to the author by John Canniel) his slower was the 1949 rendition (8:15). On this CD Cantelli gives his quickest performance (7:54), but all the performances by Cantelli and Toscanini are respectful of the composer’s wishes in terms of dynamics.
Whereas, apart from 1950, Cantelli conducted at least two performances of the Berceuse élégiaque every year from 1946 until 1954, he only gave five performances of Tanzwalzer. He first included the work in an Italian concert given in 1948 given in Italy, the second was in 1950 with the NBC Symphony Orchestra which has been issued in a box of four CDs (Testament SBT4 1317) and finally three more performances were given in 1954, and this CD preserves his very last performance.
Busoni was an intensely serious musician but he needed to compose lighter works to keep his equilibrium. Such a work is Tanzwalzer for which he wrote the entire sketch on 19 September 1920 and completed the full score less than a fortnight later on 1 October. The composer provided a brief note for its first performance: ‘The Tanzwalzer was written originally in jest (and as a personal test of my own lighter talents) inspired by strains of a waltz issuing from inside a coffee-house, heard from walking in the street The work is dedicated to the memory of Johann Strauss, whom the composer sincerely admires’.
Whether Cantelli ever perceived any music as a jest is open to speculation. As one would expect, Cantelli is generally respectful of the composer’s wishes (admittedly adding a crescendo at Figure 7 before asking the first violins to provide a ravishing ppp on the high E) and takes all the repeats. His performance (7:54) is some half a minute quicker than that of 1950 .
A final comment is required to justify the exclusion of Ravel’s Bolero which was the final item in the programme. As usual, the last concert in a group of performances was broadcast, but it was a fairly common occurrence for the final item in a concert not to be transmitted. There existed a recording on the long-defunct AS disc (AS 547) which purported to be from the concert given on 19 March, but despite numerous enquiries it has not proved possible (so far!) to establish incontrovertible evidence that the performance on AS 547 is indeed from 19 March or, even more unlikely, from 21 March. For that reason, the decision was taken not to use that recording on this CD.
Keith Bennett © June 2012
Keith Bennett is the author of Guido Cantelli – Just Eight Years of Fame (published 2009) which is only available from GC Publishers.
For further details either write to GC Publishers, 21 Nunn Close, Martlesham, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4UL, UK or e-mail email@example.com
Notes on the recordings:
The recordings here stem from a number of sources collected by Keith Bennett and donated for transfer purposes to Pristine Audio for this release, for which we are most grateful. There is some slight variability in sound quality between the sources, but overall the sound is good, with perhaps the Strauss and Busoni surpassing that of the Cherubini. The final pitching of the recording was determined by careful analysis of residual 60Hz electrical hum and suggested the orchestra was playing very slightly sharper than standard concert pitch of A4=440Hz - I have elected to retain the actual pitch of the concert rather than "correct" it.
As Mr. Bennett's notes make clear, this was not the complete concert. The final work played on the day was Ravel's Boléro, and this appears on an Italian CD credited to this performance. A number of factors led us to the suspicion that this might not be a genuine recording from this concert - not least technically. It's pitch is considerably different to that of the rest of the concert when corrected to a 60Hz analysis, and also varies considerably by comparison to a good "flat" pitch recording of the rest of the concert, which suggests at the very least a different tape machine and, more than likely, a different concert.
However, to ensure we were not missing out on a complete recording, Mr. Bennett contacted both the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Carnegie Hall's archive department. Both were adamant that not only was the Ravel not broadcast, but that that part of the concert had not been recorded either in-house or off-air. We do not know, therefore, who is conducting and playing the purported Cantelli Boléro, nor when or where it was recorded. This release contains all that survives from the present concert.
Click here to view additional notes
Biographical notes from Wikipedia
Guido Cantelli (27 April 1920 – 24 November 1956) was an Italian orchestral conductor.
Born in Novara, Italy, Cantelli was named Musical Director of La Scala, Milan on 16 November 1956 but his promising career was cut short only one week later by his death at the age of 36 in an aircraft crash in Paris, France.
Cantelli studied at the Milan Conservatory in Italy and began a promising conducting career, which was interrupted by World War II, during which he was forced to serve in the Italian army, then placed in a German labor camp because of his outspoken opposition to the Nazis. He became ill and managed to successfully escape the camp. He resumed his musical career after the Allies liberated Italy. Toscanini saw Cantelli conduct at La Scala and was so impressed that he invited him to guest conduct the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1949.
In the course of his brief career, he had conducted not only in many of the most famous concert halls of Europe but also in the United States and South Africa. The famous conductor Arturo Toscanini was particularly impressed by him, and, in a note written to Cantelli's wife Iris in 1950 after four concerts where Cantelli had been a guest conductor with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, said:
I am happy and moved to inform you of Guido's great success and that I introduced him to my orchestra, which loves him as I do. This is the first time in my long career that I have met a young man so gifted. He will go far, very far.
Toscanini, who died less than two months after Cantelli's plane crash, was never told of Cantelli's death.
Besides conducting the NBC Symphony from 1949 to 1954, Cantelli also guest conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the U.S. and the Philharmonia Orchestra in the UK.
At the time of Cantelli's death, he was being considered as the next music director of the New York Philharmonic, as successor to Dimitri Mitropoulos; instead, Leonard Bernstein (who also guest conducted the NBC Symphony) took over the leadership of the Philharmonic in 1958.
Performances and Recordings
Cantelli left a small legacy of commercial recordings. Among them are recordings of Beethoven's 7th symphony and 5th piano concerto (with Walter Gieseking and the New York Philarmonic Orchestra in Carnegie Hall from 25 March 1956), Schubert's 8th symphony, Brahms' 1st and 3rd symphonies, Franck's D minor symphony (with the NBC Symphony in Carnegie Hall in stereo from 6 April 1954), Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Paul Hindemith's Mathis der Maler, Liszt's 2nd piano concerto with Claudio Arrau, and shorter pieces by Ravel, Rossini, and others. He recorded Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with the New York Philharmonic for Columbia Records.
His one surviving opera performance is of Così fan tutte, from La Scala in 1956. There is also a live CD recording of him conducting the Verdi Requiem (with Herva Nelli). He conducted the Mozart Requiem at La Scala in 1950. There are live recordings with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra of Beethoven's first and fifth piano concertos, with Rudolf Serkin as soloist, from 1953 and 1954, respectively.
The Franck, Brahms 3rd, Schubert 8th, and Beethoven 7th are among his few stereo recordings. Just before he died, he recorded the final three movements of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 for EMI, but did not record the first movement. In recent years, many performances from broadcasts and recording sessions with the NBC Symphony, from 1949 to 1954, have been made available.
In January 1954, longtime NBC announcer Ben Grauer had a brief interview with Cantelli at the end of an NBC Symphony broadcast conducted by Toscanini. Besides discussing Cantelli's recent concerts and upcoming ones, Grauer asked Cantelli about his anticipated return in the fall of 1954, but Cantelli only nervously laughed. (In reality, the NBC Symphony was disbanded in the summer of 1954, then reorganized by some of its musicians as the Symphony of the Air.) Grauer mentioned that Cantelli was sometimes in the broadcast booth during the broadcasts; Toscanini biographer Harvey Sachs notes that Cantelli was present at Toscanini's last concert on 4 April 1954. Fortunately, the interview was recorded and has been released on Youtube.
There is a film clip of Cantelli conducting the final moments of Rossini's overture to Semiramide.
Notes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guido_Cantelli
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