Pope Reflects on Unfinished Symphony of World Peace

Says It Requires Patient Search for Understanding

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 12, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Harmony among peoples, just as the harmony of a symphony, requires a «patient, toilsome commitment» with time and sacrifice, suggested Benedict XVI on Wednesday.

The Pope said this at the end of a concert by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, directed by Maestro Daniel Barenboim. The orchestra is made up of Israeli, Palestinian and musicians of other Arab countries who play together; persons of Jewish, Muslim and Christian religion. They offered the Holy Father the concert for the feast of St. Benedict, with a performance of Beethoven’s 5th and 6th Symphonies.

«You can imagine how happy I am to receive an Orchestra such as this one, which was born from the conviction, more than that, from the experience that music unites persons, beyond any division; because music is harmony of differences, as happens every time that a concert begins with the ‘rite’ of tuning,» the Pope said. «From the multiplicity of timbres of diverse instruments, a symphony can emerge. However, this does not happen magically or automatically! It is realized only thanks to the commitment of the Director and of every individual musician. A patient, toilsome commitment that requires time and sacrifices, in an effort to listen to one another mutually, avoiding excessive prominence and fostering the best success of the whole.»

The Pontiff compared this to the «great symphony of peace among peoples, which has never been altogether finished.»

«My generation,» he said, «as well as that of Maestro Barenboim’s parents, lived through the tragedy of World War II and the Shoa. And it is very significant that you, Maestro, after having reached the highest goals of a musician, wished to give life to a project such as the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. […] The numerous outstanding recognitions that you and this Orchestra have received demonstrate, at the same time, your professional excellence and ethical and spiritual commitment.»

The Pope also reflected on the choice of music. Beethoven’s 5th and 6th Symphonies, he explained, «express two aspects of life: drama and peace, man’s struggle against an adverse destiny and the cheering immersion in the bucolic environment.»

«Beethoven worked on these two works, in particular on their completion, almost contemporaneously. So much so that they were performed for the first time together – as this evening – in the memorable concert of December 22, 1808, at Vienna,» the Pontiff said. «The message I would like to draw today is this: To attain peace one must be committed, leaving violence and arms to one side, committed to personal and community conversion, with dialogue, with the patient search for possible understandings.»

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