One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus

September 2022
Nikolai Medtner
Herbert Blomstedt
Tarrodi Four Elements
Secret Love Letters
Lisa Batiashvili




CD & Download: Pristine Audio

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828)
Symphony No. 8, ‘Unfinished’, in B minor, D759 [21:38]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913 -1976)
Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20 [20:44]
Richard WAGNER (1813 - 1883)
Rienzi: Overture [11:59]
NBC Symphony Orchestra/Guido Cantelli
rec. ‘live’, Carnegie Hall, New York, 3 January 1953

Experience Classicsonline

Guido Cantelli’s life was cut cruelly short before he had time to leave a substantial legacy of studio recordings. Happily, many concert recordings exist, especially of performances that he gave in the USA, and as these are issued on CD we have more opportunities to admire the very special talents of this Italian maestro.

Many of these recordings consist of performances with either the New York Philharmonic or, as here, with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. We learn from the notes on the Pristine Audio website that accompany this release that Cantelli gave forty concerts with the NBC orchestra, more than any other conductor apart from Toscanini himself. Cantelli’s biographer, Keith Bennett has an extensive collection of tapes of these concerts, including this present one, and Pristine are hoping to issue more of them. If they do, there will probably be some overlap between, for example, the three boxes of such recordings issued by Testament or with the marvellous bumper box of recordings from Music & Arts. However, there’s no such duplication here, save that one of the Testament boxes (SBT 1306) contains a different performance of the Rienzi overture.

The Rienzi performance, which closes this particular programme, is a good one. The ‘Rienzi’s Prayer’ theme is unfolded very spaciously (track 6, from 1:41). Some may think it too broad, but I love it, especially since Cantelli obtains such warm playing. Later on the tub-thumping sub-Weber allegro material is pretty empty stuff but Cantelli makes as good a case for it as possible.

I admire very much his account of the Schubert symphony. In the first movement there’s no autumnal, valedictory dawdling. Instead, Cantelli’s reading is purposeful and darkly dramatic. After his finely focused account of I, the second movement is unfolded quite beautifully. In his note, Keith Bennett draws attention to the fact that in Cantelli’s 1955 studio recording (EMI) with the Philharmonia, this movement lasted for over a minute longer. This tauter New York account doesn’t feel unduly hasty, though.

For many collectors the main interest in this release will lie in the inclusion of Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem. Apparently this was the only piece of English music that Cantelli ever performed and this present performance is one of just six that he’s known to have given. The performance is interesting on another account. It took place just twelve years after the première of the work - also given in New York, by Barbirolli. Nowadays this is a very familiar work but in 1953 it must have been very new both to performers and players. This may even be only the second recording of the work to survive. There is a recording of Barbirolli and the NYPSO giving the second performance of the work, the day after its première (NMC D030) but the sound quality is very poor and the recording is really only of archival interest. This blistering Cantelli reading is quite another matter, not least because the sound quality is so good. Subsequent to the première - and possibly as a result of listening to the off-air recording - Britten expressed the view that Barbirolli’s speeds for the first and third movement were too slow. It’s interesting to note, therefore, that Cantelli takes 9:04 for the first movement (Barbirolli 9:50) and 6:05 for the third (Barbirolli 8:05). Barbirolli is a trifle faster overall in the second movement (4:58 against Cantelli’s 5:35).

What impresses most of all about this Cantelli performance is its sheer power. The first movement is dreadful - in the true sense of the word - full of lowering menace. In the opening pages especially it’s clear that Cantelli understands the ominous tread of the music and he builds the movement to a shattering climax (track 3, from 6:49) with some fearfully powerful brass playing. The entire passage from this point to the movement’s close is literally awesome. 

The scalding second movement spits and snarls and after that Cantelli judges and paces the beneficently calm finale quite beautifully. I suggested earlier that many of the players would have been unfamiliar with this music. If so, it never shows. They respond to Cantelli’s direction ardently. This is a very considerable account of the score and makes one wonder what Peter Grimes might have been like under Cantelli’s baton.

I’m delighted to report that the very superior music-making on this disc is conveyed in excellent sound. Andrew Rose has done a splendid job in remastering the recording. One can only hope that more of these Cantelli issues will soon be forthcoming and while the focus is likely to be on New York one wonders if it might be possible also to issue performances given with, say, the Chicago or Boston Symphony Orchestras. There is, for example, a superb 1954 Boston performance of Respighi’s Pines of Rome but so far as I know the only way to hear this at the moment is by investing in the BSO’s deluxe Symphony Hall Centennial Collection box of CDs.

For now, all admirers of Cantelli will be grateful for this issue from Pristine. Snap it up for the Britten especially. What a conductor!

John Quinn



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.