.- The managing director of the world famous Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig said playing for Pope Benedict XVI April 20 is the pinnacle of the orchestraâs long and illustrious history.
âThis concert,â said Andreas Schulz, âis the most important event in the history of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.â
âIt is an unbelievable invitation. I remember when I got the invitation in October 2010 I was so surprised, so deeply honored, I canât believe it when I saw the fax with the invitation,â he told Vatican Radio.
The concert was held in the Vaticanâs Paul VI Hall to mark the Popeâs 85th birthday earlier this week. Under the baton of Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly, the Gewandhaus Orchestra performed Felix Mendelssohnâs 2nd Symphony, the âLobgesangâ or âHymn of Praise.â
At the end of the performance Pope Benedict praised the orchestra for their âtradition of high quality performance and undisputed fame.â He then gave a âhearty thank youâ to the musicians, the choir, soloists.
The pontiff also thanked âin a very particular wayâ the conductor for a âmoving interpretationâ of a symphony through which âwe praised and thank the Lord for his gifts.â
He also noted how Mendelssohn â a predecessor of Chailly as conductor of Gewandhaus Orchestra â used his work as a means of giving glory to God.
âArt as praise to God, the Supreme Beauty, was the basis of the method of composition by Mendelssohn and not only as concerns liturgical or sacred music but his entire repertoire.â
Schulz said the concert was all the more special as Pope Benedict is known to have a deep knowledge and passion for music.
âIf you have a special person like say the Holy Father, because itâs his birthday and we know he is so close to music and all the arts, itâs really much better because itâs a person who can follow you.â