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Pope salutes maestro's commitment to reviving sacred music

Catholic World News - May 14, 2012

After hearing a concert of sacred music on Friday evening, May 12, Pope Benedict XVI praised the conductor, Riccardo Muti, for his efforts to increase appreciation for “this rich repertory which expresses the faith of the Church in music.”

Muti, who has been outspoken in his enthusiasm for the traditions of sacred music, had led the Orchestra and Choir of the Roman Opera House in performances of Vivaldi’s Magnificat and Stabat Mater and Verdi’s Te Deum. The concert, held at the Vatican in the Paul VI auditorium, was sponsored by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano as a tribute to Pope Benedict on the 7th anniversary of his election.

At the conclusion of the concert the Pope thanked the performers and commented on each of the pieces in the program. Vivaldi’s Magnificat, he said, shows that “God’s ‘style’ is different from that of man, because He stands alongside the poorest and weakest to give them hope.” Then his Stabat Mater, the Pope continued, expressed the drama of the Virgin Mary contemplating her crucified Son, “enabling us to participate in her maternal suffering and allowing the love of Christ to burn in our hearts.” Finally, the Pope Te Deum by Verdi encourages “contemplation of Christ incarnate Who frees and opens the Kingdom of Heaven.”

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