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Musical Pontiff

Pope_6509For those who have been living under a rock for the past week, Pope Benedict XVI arrived in New York this morning, addressing the United Nations General Assembly in the first of many appearances over the next three days. Pope Benedict - who is known to be an avid opera fan and often plays Mozart and Bach on a piano in the papal apartments - has encouraged a return of traditional liturgical music for use in church services, which have been dominated by a queasy kind of folk-rock ever since the reforms of Vatican II.

The music heard at services over the weekend will reflect the pope's elevated musical tastes, culminating in a huge mass at Yankee Stadium this Sunday where an orchestra and chorus of more than 500 will perform works by Palestrina, Perosi, Victoria and Schubert, as well as three of the four movements from Beethoven's 9th (!) Forget about getting in: the tickets - which are free - all went to local parishes, who distributed them lottery-style. But, you can still catch it on TV.

(Photo: Pope Benedict XVI, with music students from the United Nations International School earlier today.)