Pope Francis on Music

From this wonderful interview.

Among musicians I love Mozart, of course. The ‘Et incarnatus est’ from his Mass in C minor is matchless; it lifts you to God! I love Mozart performed by Clara Haskil. Mozart fulfills me. But I cannot think about his music; I have to listen to it. I like listening to Beethoven, but in a Promethean way, and the most Promethean interpreter for me is Furtwängler. And then Bach’s Passions. The piece by Bach that I love so much is the ‘Erbarme Dich,’ the tears of Peter in the ‘St. Matthew Passion.’ Sublime. Then, at a different level, not intimate in the same way, I love Wagner. I like to listen to him, but not all the time. The performance of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ by Furtwängler at La Scala in Milan in 1950 is for me the best. But also the ‘Parsifal’ by Knappertsbusch in 1962.

“We should also talk about the cinema. ‘La Strada,’ by Fellini, is the movie that perhaps I loved the most. I identify with this movie, in which there is an implicit reference to St. Francis. I also believe that I watched all of the Italian movies with Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi when I was between 10 and 12 years old. Another film that I loved is ‘Rome, Open City.’ I owe my film culture especially to my parents who used to take us to the movies quite often.

“Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones. There is a nice definition that Cervantes puts on the lips of the bachelor Carrasco to praise the story of Don Quixote: ‘Children have it in their hands, young people read it, adults understand it, the elderly praise it.’ For me this can be a good definition of the classics.”

Start at 7:15 for the Et incarnatus est.

7 Replies to “Pope Francis on Music”

  1. Thank you, Jeffrey. I did not know that he was such a lover of classical music! And he does have good taste – the Mozart Mass in C minor is sublime – although I tend to prefer the Kyrie.

  2. Tut mir leid. Sorry, this is not "matchless": no Incarnatus, and no Great Mass in C Minor. This is the Mass in C Major. MAJOR!

  3. The 'Et incarnatus' of the C minor Mass K427 is only a draft which Mozart deliberately chose not to complete, no doubt because its bravura style was not concomitant with the rest of the work. The only completed parts of the Mass are the Kyrie, Gloria (whose seven distinct movements make it unsuitable for liturgical use), the Sanctus and the Benedictus.

    The 'Coronation' Mass K317 is a different matter – its through-composed style, like the late Haydn Masses, and those of Hummel and Beethoven, makes it suitable for liturgical use, and it was notably so used on 29 June 1985 by JP II in St Peter's (Wiener Philharmoniker and Singverein, cond. Herbert von Karajan).

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