C1216. GUIDO CANTELLI Cond. NBC S.O.: 'Italian' Symphony #4 in A, Live Performance, 1 Dec., 1951; GUIDO CANTELLI Cond. NYPO, w. JASCHA HEIFETZ: Concerto in e, Live Performance, 14 May, 1954 (both Mendelssohn); GUIDO CANTELLI Cond. Handel & Gabrieli excerpts. (Germany) Archipel 0469. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 4035122404692
“Guido Cantelli, the protégé of Arturo Toscanini, had shot from obscurity to a career whose brightness still blinds today. Was requently a guest of the New York Philharmonic.
Emerging as if fully formed in the works of Schumann and Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Debussy, Cantelli was arguably the greatest conductor who never quite was - as THE NEW YORK TIMES critic Olin Downes wrote in 1953, one who ‘understands the notes and wraps his heart around every one of them’. He treated all music as song, and he sang it with the care he thought it deserved.
He could often be seen in the gallery of the Teatro Coccia, reading scores by torchlight; other evenings were spent tuning a radio he had saved for with his allowance, or with his records, those of Toscanini foremost among them. He entered the Milan Conservatory in 1939 and completed a seven-year composition course in three, but he was no composer. Shortly after graduating, in 1943, he made his debut leading LA TRAVIATA at the Coccia, a theater Toscanini had opened in 1888. After German troops occupied Novara that September, Cantelli was sent to a concentration camp on the Baltic coast, and was worked so close to death that he ended up weighing just 80 pounds. The way the story was later told, to promote him as an antifascist just as courageous as Toscanini had supposedly been, he refused to collaborate with the Nazis and eventually became a hero of the Partisans, one supposedly hours from being shot when the Allies liberated Milan.
After the war, Cantelli found food scarce and opportunities scarcer. He debuted with La Scala’s orchestra outdoors in July 1945, but didn’t return until May 21, 1948. Coincidentally, Toscanini was in the theater that night, and was confronted with a vision of his youth. Within days, the world’s most famous conductor was in the Cantellis’ tiny Milan apartment, playing his latest record and inviting Cantelli to spend a few weeks conducting the NBC Symphony. Cantelli, then 28, arrived in New York at the end of December, and he was swept into a world filled with musical eminences.”
- David Allen, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 5 July, 2022