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Pope: Verdi’s Requiem a ‘musical cathedral’

October 19, 2010

The Munich-based Klang Verwaltung Orchestra and the Neubeuern Choir, under the direction of Enoch zu Guttenberg, performed Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem on October 16 for Pope Benedict and the Synod of Bishops. Composed in 1874, the work was first performed on the first anniversary of the death of Alessandro Manzoni, whose novel The Betrothed is included in Father John Hardon’s Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan.

Verdi “spent his life scrutinizing the heart of man, and in his works he highlighted the drama of the human condition,” Pope Benedict said at the conclusion of the concert. “His theater is full of unhappy souls, of the persecuted, of victims. This tragic vision of human destiny is echoed in many parts of his Requiem Mass, where we touch the inescapable reality of death and the fundamental question of the transcendent world.”

“This ‘musical cathedral,’” the Pope added, “thus appears as a description of the spiritual drama of man before Almighty God, of man who cannot escape the eternal question concerning his own existence.”


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