Vatican City, 12 July 2012 (VIS) - "It pleases me to welcome an orchestra such as this one, which was born of the conviction, or better yet, of the experience that music unites persons, over and above any division". With these words the Pope thanked Director Daniel Barenboim and the musicians of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for the concert given in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo to celebrate the feast of St. Benedict, patron of Europe.
"Music", the pontiff continued, "is the harmony of differences ... from the multiplicity of tones of the various instruments a symphony can arise. However, this doesn't happen magically or automatically. It comes only from ... a patient and laborious commitment, which requires time and sacrifices in the effort to listen to one another, avoiding excessive egoism and privileging the best success of the whole".
"In these moments I am thinking of the great symphony of peace between the peoples that is never complete. My generation, like that of Director Barenboim's parents', lived the tragedy of the Second World war and the Shoah. It is highly meaningful that the maestro desired to bring a to life a project like the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: a group in which musicians from Israel, Palestine, and other Arabic nations play; Jewish, Muslim, and Christian persons. The numerous acknowledgements that have been conferred on you and this orchestra demonstrate your professional excellence as well as your ethical and spiritual commitment".
Continuing, the Pope emphasized that the symphonies that were performed, Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth, express two aspects of life: "drama and peace; humanity's struggle against adversity and its enlightening immersion in a bucolic environment... The message I would like to draw from it for today is this: to achieve peace we must dedicate ourselves to dialogue with a personal and communal conversion, patiently seeking possible areas of understanding".
"I wish and pray that each of you", he concluded, "continue sowing the hope for peace in the world through the universal language of music".