2012-07-11 Vatican RadioA concert in honor of Pope Benedict began at 6pm this evening at Castel Gandolfo. Italian president Giorgio Napolitano and his wife were scheduled to attend the concert, and afterwards join the Holy Father for dinner. The peformance includes parts of two symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven, and was being peformed by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a Sevilla-based orchestra of young Arab and Israeli musicians conducted by world renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim.
“The music of Beethoven is always contemporary – his works are not modern because they were written many years ago – but they are contemporary in the sense that they have significance for the world today,” he told Vatican Radio before Wednesday’s performance.
“It is an expression of the unchanging nature of the human soul,” he said. “Even though technology has moved the world forward - along with humanity - the human soul remains, at the most profound level, the same.”
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra co-founded by Barenboim is a youth orchestra consisting of musicians from countries in the Middle East, and is meant to promote understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.