Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Holy Father Praises Gergorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony

This evening, the Pope attended a concert of sacred music in the Sistine Chapel, presented in his honor by the Domenico Bartolucci Foundation, directed by Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci.

At the end of the concert, Benedict XVI thanked Msgr. Bartolucci - who directed the Sistine Chapel Choir from 1956 to 1997 - for the concert, which included the composition "Oremus Pro Pontefice" written, the Pope recalled, by Msgr. Bartolucci "immediately after my election to the See of Peter."

"All the pieces we have heard," the Holy Father continued, "and especially their arrangement - with the sixteenth and twentieth centuries running in parallel - go to confirm the conviction that sacred polyphony, and especially that of the so-called 'Roman School,' is a legacy to be carefully preserved, kept alive and propagated, for the benefit not only of scholars and enthusiasts, but of all the ecclesial community for which it constitutes a priceless spiritual, artistic and cultural heritage."

Pope Benedict then highlighted how the aim of the Bartolucci Foundation is "to preserve and defend the classical and contemporary tradition of this famous polyphonic school, which has always been characterized by its focus on the pure voice, without instrumental accompaniment."

He continued: "A true 'aggiornamento' of sacred music cannot be achieved except by following the great traditions of the past, of Gregorian chants and sacred polyphony. For this reason, in the musical field as in that of other forms of art, the ecclesial community has always promoted and sustained those who seek new forms of expression without rejecting the past, the history of the human spirit, which is also the history of its dialogue with God."

Msgr. Bartolucci, the Pope said, "has always sought to appreciate sacred music, also as a vehicle of evangelization. Through innumerable concerts in Italy and abroad, with the universal language of art, the Sistine Chapel Choir," led by him, "cooperated in the mission of the Popes, which is that of spreading the Christian message throughout the world. the Sistine Chapel Choir still continues that mission under the careful direction of its current maestro, Giuseppe Liberto."

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