DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Leonard Bernstein conducts MOZART: Great Mass in C Minor; Ave Verum Corpus; Exsultate Jubilate (1990)

Recorded in the final year of the conductor-composer

Published on August 30, 2006

Leonard Bernstein conducts MOZART: Great Mass in C Minor; Ave Verum Corpus; Exsultate Jubilate (1990)
Leonard Bernstein conducts MOZART: Great Mass in C Minor; Ave Verum Corpus; Exsultate Jubilate (1990)

Performers: Arleen Auger, soprano; Frederica von Stade, mezzo; Frank Lopardo, tenor; Cornelius Hauptmann, bass; Choir of the Bavarian Radio; Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio; conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Studio: Unitel/DGG (Universal) B0006492-09
Video: 4:3 color
Subtitles: Latin, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese
No region code
Audio: DTS 5.1, PCM Stereo
Extras: An introduction by Leonard Bernstein
Length: 87 minutes
Rating: ****

A magnificent concert and welcome remembrance of Leonard Bernstein – videotaped in performance in the Baroque Basilica of Waldsassen, Bavaria, the year of the conductor/composer’s death. These are three of the most acclaimed liturgical works of Mozart aside from the Requiem, and the four soloists are superb in every way.  Bernstein’s facial expressions are a perfect complement to his conducting style; they highlight the emotional depths in the music and his strong connection with them.  All concerned provide a truly inspirational performance of all three works.

Supporting the musical excellence is the amazingly Baroque environment of the Waldsassen Basilica. Every inch seems to be encrusted with statues, paintings, stained glass, gold leaf – making a very fitting visual background for the powerful music. The spoken-in-German introduction by Bernstein is extremely touching, drawing attention to the location of the town, which is said to be in the very center of Europe, with a stone marker erected by Napoleon when his army passed by.  Bernstein’s message is about the endless series of wars thru history in the region, and his hope that the spirit of Mozart “may strengthen us, bless us, and help us finally to achieve peace on earth.”

 - John Sunier




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