Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Pope and Music

Segni dei tempi are publicising the new book by His Holiness the Pope. It is called "Lodate Dio Con Arte" ("Praise God with Art")

There is an introduction by Riccardo Muti

The new book has its central focus on music, sacred music and the place of music in the Sacred Liturgy especially after Vatican II

For the Pope music is a passion. He says:

«Cantare è quasi un volare ... un sollevarsi verso Dio, un anticipare in qualche modo il canto dell’eternità».

He learnt to sing as a child. His brother`s interest in music helped to develop and nurture this interest.

The Pope also stressed the importance of music in the life of the Church and its liturgy. He writes:

«L’arte musicale è chiamata, in modo singolare, ad infondere speranza nell’animo umano, così segnato e talvolta ferito dalla condizione terrena. Vi è una misteriosa e profonda parentela tra musica e speranza, tra canto e vita eterna: non per nulla la tradizione cristiana raffigura gli spiriti beati nell’atto di cantare in coro, rapiti ed estasia- ti dalla bellezza di Dio. Ma l’autentica arte, come la preghiera, non ci estranea dalla realtà di ogni giorno, bensì ad essa ci rimanda per “irrigarla” e farla germogliare, perché rechi frutti di bene e di pace”.

“The art of music is called, in a unique way, to inculcate hope into the human soul, which is so so impressed and at times wounded by the earthly condition. There is a profound relationship between music and hope, between singing and eternal life: it is not in vain that the Christian tradition depicts the blessed spirits singing in choir, in ecstasy and raptured by the beauty of God,” the article pointed out. Authentic art, like prayer, does not take us away from daily reality, but rather brings us back to it in order to ‘water it’ and make it germinate so that it bears the fruit of good and peace,”

It is therefore quite timely that it has emerged that on the Pope`s visit to the United Kingdom, the renowned Scottish composer James MacMillan has been commissioned to arrange the first ever setting of the new English Mass for the papal visit in September 2010.

Mr MacMillan said he was delighted by the honour of being asked by the Bishops of Scotland, England and Wales to work on the setting of the new English translation of the Mass, which will be used by Pope Benedict both north and south of the Border.