Beethoven Symphony No. 7 in A Major
Guido Cantelli, conductor
Price range: $36-596, mean $236 on popsike
Comments: Just after I criticized the sound quality of the early stereo EMI recording of
Beecham conducting Bizet, here comes another early title in the EMI ASD
series as redemption. Guido Cantelli (1920-1956) was about to be the
next Toscanini when he was prematurely killed in an airplane crash* just
one week after he was named the Musical Director of La Scala, Milan.
He left behind a limited recording legacy, most of which was in mono for
EMI, but a few stereo recordings exist, including this one. This is
the only stereo recording that was published by EMI in
the ASD series, and as such, it is a rare collectable. A near mint
copy of this will run easily in the $200-400 range. It is a wonderful
record, and for a recording from 1956, the sound quality is pretty
decent. I caught no evidence of distortion in the louder passages.
Dynamic range was not extensive but decent, but most importantly, the
music sings. Tempos are just right for a non-historically informed
performance. The Allegretto is given a lyrical treatment without being
sluggish; the third and fourth movements are energetic. This record
stands as the testament to this incredibly talented conductor whose
full potential was tragically not to be realized.
you'd like to sample this recording before committing to the original
LP, keep in mind that 1) it is available on CD as either the
out-of-print Guido Cantelli EMI Artist Icon or in the recently released
Guido Cantelli EMI Icon boxed set, and 2) it has been reissued on vinyl
by EMI Testament for $35. I have heard the CDs, which give you a flavor
for the performance though lack the warmth of the analog LP, but have
not heard the Testament reissue.
*Similar fates befell the violinists
Ginette Niveu (1949) and Jacques Thibaud (1953) as well as the pianist
William Kapell (1953).