Pope's Address at Conclusion of Concert

«Music is harmony of differences»

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ROME, JULY 12, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Wednesday at the conclusion of a concert held in his honor.

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Mr. President,

Venerable Brothers,

Distinguished Gentlemen and Ladies,

We lived through a moment of truly intense and enriching listening for our spirit, and for this we thank the Lord. I wish to express muy heartfelt gratitude to Maestro Daniel Barenboim and to all the musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which during their summertournee have kindly wished to offer me this concert, on the day of the feast of Saint Benedict. Thus they have enabled me not only to enjoy live their excellent performance, but also to participate more directly in their initiated 13 years ago now, in fact, by you, Maestro, together with the late Mr. Edward Said.

I greet cordially the President of the Italian Republic, Honorable Giorgio Napolitano, whom I thank for his presence and for having encouraged this initiative. And my “thank you” goes also to Cardinal Ravasi, who introduced the concert with three beautiful and significant quotations. To the other Authorities and to all of you, dear friends, I extend my greeting.

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. 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.

While I express these thoughts, my mind turns to the great symphony of peace among peoples, which has never been altogether finished. My generation, 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: a group in which Israeli, Palestinian and musicians of other Arab countries play together; persons of Jewish, Muslim and Christian religion.

The numerous outstanding recognitions that you and this Orchestra have received demonstrate, at the same time, your professional excellence and ethical and spiritual commitment. We felt it also this evening, listening to the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Also in this choice, in this approach we can see an interesting meaning for us. These two famous Symphonies 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 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

Hence we thank from our heart Maestro Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for having given us witness of this way. To each of them, the wish and prayer to continue to spread the hope of peace in the world through the universal language of music.

Thank you and good evening to all!

[Translation by ZENIT]
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