ALBUM TITLE: Birthday Concert for Pope Benedict XVI
WORKS: Gabrieli: Canzona noni toni a 12; Sonata XIII; Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3; Dvo?ák: Symphony No. 9
PERFORMER: Hilary Hahn (violin); Stuttgart Radio Brass; SWR Radio SO, Stuttgart/Gustavo Dudamel
CATALOGUE NO: 073 4357 (NTSC system; dts 5.1; 16:9 picture ratio)
This concert to celebrate Pope Benedict XVI’s 80th birthday on 16 April this year features a programme of his own devising (the Pope is also a keen pianist). Filmed in the Vatican in front of an audience of 6,000, the two main items are book-ended by appropriately sonorous and agile performances of two Gabrieli masterworks, conducted with great dash and style by Gustavo Dudamel, whose gestures at times resembles Claudio Abbado’s. He also gives his all in a performance of Dvo?ák’s evergreen New World?Symphony, which may lack the visceral excitement of Eugene Ormandy’s blistering LSO account for CBS (now Sony), yet brings out the music’s often violent dynamic contrasts to stunning effect.
Hilary Hahn is also on sparkling form in the Mozart G major, as technically immaculate and poised as ever, even if she might have dreamed a little more indulgently in the magical slow movement. Pin-sharp picture quality and pristine engineering. Julian Haylock