, December 2012
This disc preserves almost all of a remarkable Edinburgh Festival concert by Guido Cantelli.
All three performances on this disc are exceptionally fine. The Schumann symphony is notable for the vitality that Cantelli brings to the Lebhaft section of the first movement and for the fine momentum he generates in the finale after a properly suspenseful transition from the third movement. In between the Romanze is beautifully done while the Scherzo is vigorous and strongly rhythmical with the trio elegantly phrased.
Excellent though the Schumann is, however, Cantelli and the orchestra seem to step up at least one more gear for the Debussy. Right at the start of ‘La Cour des lys’ the cool, poised woodwind playing is a delight and a thing of wonder. Indeed the whole movement is exquisitely sculpted and controlled by Cantelli. In his hands there’s marvellous life in ‘Danse extatique’; the music seems airborne. In the following ‘La Passion’ Cantelli, helped by some wonderful playing from the Philharmonia, produces a very special atmosphere. One can only admire the way in which this supremely gifted conductor controls the lines and the textures. The final movement, ‘Le Bon Pasteur’, offers arguably the best performance of all. The opening pages feature music making of the greatest possible subtlety and refinement, not least from the woodwind and horn principals. With super-soft string playing as well, the fragile beauty of Debussy’s writing ravishes the ear.
The reading of La Mer is simply fabulous. Time and again Cantelli’s infinite care for detail, balance and colour is evident…it’s a real performance with the sweep of the music thrillingly conveyed. In the second section of ‘De l’aube à midi sur la mer’ you can really feel the surges of the sea at times while elsewhere the poetry of the music is beautifully conveyed. ‘Jeux de vagues’ benefits from a significant number of moments of individual brilliance on the part of several of the orchestra’s principals. The performance as a whole is distinguished by lots of light and shade. The final movement, ‘Dialogue du vent et de la mer’, is vividly projected…It’s a most exciting account of the music; no wonder the audience goes wild at the end.
…even if you have some or all of Cantelli’s studio recordings of these works don’t pass by this release. This concert must have been a memorable experience with a great conductor leading an orchestra on sovereign form and we are indeed fortunate that the recordings have been preserved. The incandescent artistry of Guido Cantelli is communicated vividly through these three magnificent performances. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review