This caught my eye:

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will release “Alma Mater– Music From The Vatican” featuring Marian hymns, prayers, chants, etc., including “Regina Coeli”, by California (USA) based record label Geffen Records owned by Universal Music Group (UMG), which is a subsidiary of Vivendi.

Pope, accompanied by the choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, will sing specially-commissioned pieces from international group of composers of various faiths, a collection of Lauretan Litanies and Marian popular chants, in French, Latin, Italian, German, and Portuguese.

With this album, Pope will be joining Ashlee Simpson, Guns N’ Roses, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Elton John, etc., on this label. …Proceeds from this album will go for providing music education for underprivileged children around the world.

Certainly a good cause. The Catholic Church has been responsible, directly or indirectly, for more great music over the centuries than any other institution by an order of magnitude or so; Pope Benedict XVI has some pretty big footprints to follow. (As only one recent example, our Archbishop in Milwaukee for many years, Rembert Weakland, was not only a fine pianist but a first-class musicologist who did much of the music preparation for the New York Pro Musica’s famous production of The Play of Daniel.)

I wonder if Popes have infallible pitch?

About the author

Robert Levine
Robert Levine

Robert Levine has been the Principal Violist of the Milwaukee Symphony since September 1987. Before coming to Milwaukee Mr. Levine had been a member of the Orford String Quartet, Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Toronto, with whom he toured extensively throughout Canada, the United States, and South America. Prior to joining the Orford Quartet, Mr. Levine had served as Principal Violist of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for six years. He has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, and the Oklahoma City Symphony, as well as serving as guest principal with the orchestras of Indianapolis and Hong Kong.

He has performed as soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, the Midsummer Mozart Festival (San Francisco), and numerous community orchestras in Northern California and Minnesota. He has also been featured on American Public Radio's nationally broadcast show "St. Paul Sunday Morning" on several occasions.

Mr. Levine has been an active chamber musician, having performed at the Festival Rolandseck in Germany, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Palm Beach Festival, the "Strings in the Mountains" Festival in Colorado, and numerous concerts in the Twin Cities and Milwaukee. He has also been active in the field of new music, having commissioned and premiered works for viola and orchestra from Minnesota composers Janika Vandervelde and Libby Larsen.

Mr. Levine was chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians from 1996 to 2002 and currently serves as President of the Milwaukee Musicians Association, Local 8 of the American Federation of Musicians, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestras. He has written extensively about issues concerning orchestra musicians for publications of ICSOM, the AFM, the Symphony Orchestra Institute, and the League of American Orchestras.

Mr. Levine attended Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland. His primary teachers were Aaron Sten and Pamela Goldsmith. He also studied with Paul Doctor, Walter Trampler, Bruno Giuranna, and David Abel.

He lives with his wife Emily and his son Sam in Glendale.

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