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Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise

· Concert in the Vatican by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra for Benedict XVI's 85th birthday ·

On Friday, 20 April, in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall the Gewandhause Orchestra and Choir of Leipzig and the MDR Radio Choir will give a concert for Benedict XVI's 85 th birthday. The programme includes Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, op. 52, called the “Lobgesang” [Hymn of Praise] The three soloists will be Luba Orgon áš ova, soprano; Bernarda Fink, mezzosoprano; and Steve Davislim, tenor. The concert will be conducted by Riccardo Chailly, who granted “L'Osservatore Romano” an interview in Italian.

Riccardo Chailly is a great musician who does not have a star's character. Despite having conducted the most important orchestra in the world, nor arriving at the top of the hit parade with his last CD recorded for Decca together with Stefano Bollani, he has not become arrogant. It will be because he continues to think of music rather than being smug about conducting one of the most elegant ways to be seen. In choosing a programme for the concert for Benedict XVI's 85th birthday, he opted for Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's second symphony, Op. 52 for soloists, choir and orchestra, known as the “Lobgesang” or “Hymn of Praise”, which was written in 1840. It is a work that is neither a symphony nor a cantata, but inaugurates a new form, rarely used. Why? One thinks of asking him.

“Mendelssohn strived to write a composition based on texts from Sacred Scripture, also because he was asked to write a piece for the 4th centenary of the invention of the printing press, and as is well-known, the first book to be printed was the Bible. Thus he decided to take several verses from the Psalms, adapting them himself for the piece. Therefore the score acquires profound meaning: a light and extraordinary musical force, thanks also to the multi-faceted expression of his musical style, expressed, precisely, in a new form”.




St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 15, 2019