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 CNS Story:

POPE-CD Aug-3-2009 (420 words) xxxi

Pope Benedict to be featured singing on CD of Marian prayers

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The music-loving Pope Benedict XVI will be featured on a new CD singing and reciting Marian hymns and prayers.

"Alma Mater," Latin for "nourishing mother," will be released worldwide Nov. 30 by Geffen Records, which is part of Universal Music Group.

Using material recorded by Vatican Radio, the album will feature Pope Benedict singing the "Regina Coeli" hymn to Mary as well as prayers and snippets of talks in Latin, Italian, Portuguese, French and German, Geffen announced July 31.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman and director of Vatican Radio, said the radio authorized use of about 10 minutes of the pope's voice for the project, which was developed by Geffen and by the multimedia production company of the Pauline Fathers.

Geffen said proceeds from the sale of the CD would be used to provide music education to underprivileged children around the world.

The CD will include the Litany of Loreto and other popular Marian prayers along with eight original classical compositions commissioned for the project.

The pieces featuring the pope will be accompanied by the choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome singing in St. Peter's Basilica. The new classical pieces will be recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Geffen said.

In 1994, Vatican Radio authorized the publication of a CD featuring Pope John Paul II reciting the rosary in Latin; sold with a commentary in a variety of languages, the CD was an instant hit.

Pope Benedict has not commented on the CD project, but he spoke about music as a universal language after a concert Aug. 2 in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo.

The pope apologized to Italians in the audience for speaking in German, but said he did so because the orchestra and many of the guests were German.

"Unfortunately, after the events of the tower of Babel, languages separate us, creating barriers," the pope said.

But, he said, peoples of all tongues can understand the language of music "because it touches our hearts. For us, this is not only a guarantee that the goodness and beauty of God's creation has not been destroyed, but it also reminds us that we are called to and capable of working together for what is good and beautiful."

Pope Benedict also apologized that the performance of the Bayerisches Chamber Orchestra was the first he could not "applaud with vigor."

With his broken right wrist in a cast, the pope said he had to let his words show his appreciation.


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