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Festival Brings Sacred Music Back To The Basilicas Of Rome

2009-04-02

Dr. Hans-Albert Courtial
President, International Festival of Sacred Music and Art

This was a very special year for us because we had the Holy Father in attendance. This is the first time the Holy Father has come to our festival. In past years, he came as Cardinal Ratzinger. Now, we had him come as Pope.

According to the festival's president and founder, the setting is a critical element for musicians and the audience to appreciate the power and beauty of sacred music.

Dr. Hans-Albert Courtial
President, International Festival of Sacred Music and Art

The music of Mozart or Schubert or Haydn, sacred music, was not created for a concert hall, it was created for the Church. This is what we are doing, bringing this beautiful music back to the papal basilicas. This way, I guarantee you that people will feel a great joy.

The idea for an annual festival came about in 2000 when Dr. Hans-Albert Courtial organized an orchestra and choir performance in St. Peter's Basilica, and witnessed the powerful effect of hearing the music inside the church.

Dr. Hans-Albert Courtial
President, International Festival of Sacred Music and Art

When we were testing the instruments the night before the performance, they started to play and I saw some of the musicians crying. So I asked them, what happened to you? Was it the same thing that happened to me? Did you feel very emotional? Yes, we were very emotional because in a place so sacred and so beautiful, hearing this music to us is a great joy. So I said to myself, this is exactly what we need today, to be touched in our hearts during these terrible times.

This year's festival is finished, but the theme for next year has already been chosen: the music of Joseph Haydn, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his death.