The (unofficial) reading list of Pope Francis

If you’re like me, Pope Francis’ recent visit to a record store in Rome probably left you wondering: what might the Vicar of Christ’s Spotify playlist look like? What songs is he playing in his white Fiat 500 with the windows down? What awards make the pope want to dance? Does he sing in the shower? (He is human after all.)

Here are my best guesses on Pope Francis’ favorite tunes – a magisterial mix-tape, if you will.

The best of Beethoven, Bach and more

Pope Francis is a connoisseur of classical music. In a 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro, SJ, Pope Francis made it clear that good music should do more than just please the ear. A piece like Mozart’s “Et incarnatus est” from his Mass in C minor “is incomparable,” Francis explained. “It elevates you to God.”

Obviously, the bar for meeting the pope’s musical expectations is quite high.

If you’re like me, Pope Francis’ recent visit to a record store in Rome probably left you wondering: what might the Vicar of Christ’s Spotify playlist look like?

Besides Mozart, who the pope said “fills me,” Francis is also a fan of Beethoven, especially his composition, “Leonore Overture No. 3.” The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s program notes for the piece explain that the 14-minute overture tells the story of Fidelio, a character from Beethoven’s only opera. Although Beethoven ultimately cut the piece, believing that “Leonore Overture No. 3” was too intensely dramatic for the opera’s overture, many listeners of Beethoven still consider this version the best of the four he composed. for the show. in various productions. With an underlying theme of sacrifice and the fight for justice, it seems likely that Pope Francis connects not only to the music but also to the message of the opera.

Other favorite classics of the pope include Bach’s aria “Erbarme dich, mein Gott” (“Have mercy Lord, my God, for my tears”) from the St. Matthew Passion as well as “Der Ring des Nibelungen” and “Parsifal”, both by Wagner.

A tango to remind him of home

“Tango is a melody that evokes nostalgia and hope,” Pope Francis said.

Like François, tango was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the city’s slums, Spanish tango is said to have blended with the more suggestive “milonga” as well as elements of Cuban dance to create the style we know today.

Here are my best guesses on Pope Francis’ favorite tunes – a magisterial mix-tape, if you will.

The pope’s extensive music collection, which includes nearly 2,000 CDs and 19 vinyl records, contains the works of famous tango composer Astor Piazzolla. Much like Pope Francis, Piazzolla was sometimes seen as a controversial figure, a man ahead of his time. He didn’t hesitate to change and even invented the new tango (new tango) by combining jazz elements with tango. We may not know which Astor Piazzolla pieces are the pope’s favorite, but I would recommend “El Desbande”, Piazzolla’s first formal tango, as well as the title track from his most famous album, “Libertango”.

In addition to Piazzolla, I suspect that Pope Francis can also listen to the works of the great composer and tango singer Azucena Maizani. Their paths crossed early on Francis’ journey to the papacy in 1970, just a month after he became a priest. In January, he learned that the tango star was seriously ill. Pope Francis cared for her and performed the Anointing of the Sick in her last days. I would like to think that once in a while, when the pope feels nostalgic for his young life in Argentina, he plays “La Canción de Buenos Aires” in memory of Maizani.

Can’t Help Falling in Love (featuring Elvis gospel music)

If the pope has 1,728 CDs in his music library, 25 of which are by Elvis Presley, that means 1.5% of his collection is sung by the king of rock and roll. But it’s not “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” or even “All Shook Up” that Francis puts on at the end of a long day of papal duties — it’s Presley’s gospel music.

Although it would seem that Pope Francis has a whole collection of Elvis Presley gospel records, he surely has a few particular favorites. I guess he likes to listen to “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. The lyrics of this song remind me a old tweet of Pope Francis’ which reads: “In the most difficult times, remember: God is our Father; God does not abandon his children.

If the pope has 1,728 CDs in his music library, 25 of which are by Elvis Presley, that means 1.5% of his collection is sung by the king of rock and roll.

I suspect “How Great Thou Art” may also be a favorite. I mean, who doesn’t love this song? Not only is it ranked as one of the most popular hymns of all time, but Elvis Presley’s version even won a Grammy Award for Best Sacred Performance in 1967. If Mozart “elevates” Pope Francis to God , “How Great Thou Art” is sure to at least make his soul sing.

Edith Piaf’s greatest hits

Edith Piaf is one of the most famous performers of the 20th century, so it’s no surprise that her work entered the pope’s personal collection. Although it is not necessary to speak or understand French to understand the emotion conveyed in Piaf’s plays – Piaf herself has been quoted as saying, “I want to make people cry even if they don’t understand not my words” – it probably helps that the pope is multilingual and can converse in Piaf’s mother tongue.

The pope may be married in church, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the sweet romance of “La Vie en Rose” like the rest of us. (I don’t know French, and this song still makes my heart swoon.) And while he may not be committed to a romantic type of love, I’m sure Pope Francis would. agreement that the love of God, family, or friends can help us see the world as a brighter place, or through “rosy glasses” as the song describes it.

The pope may be married in church, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the sweet romance of “La Vie en Rose” like the rest of us.

“Non, je ne regrette rien”, another of Piaf’s most famous tunes, tells the story of a person who lets go of their past to live a life without regrets. Having just turned 85 in December, it seems possible that the pope is reflecting on his own life these days. I hope he can do it without any regrets and with hope for the future, as the song says.

Future additions to the Pope’s collection?

Pope Francis’ personal music library is extensive, but our readers got some recommendations for new songs the pope might consider adding to his collection.

These suggestions included music from artists spanning ABBA, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin (“Stairway to Heaven” sounds themed), Bruce Springsteen, Britney Spears, Yo-Yo Ma, new indie artists, and even music from the Disney soundtrack. “Encanta”.

In a universal church, it’s no surprise that these recommendations cover so many different genres and tastes. Music has the power to bring people together regardless of language, culture and even generational divides. The scope of these recommendations represents the many unique people who make up the one body of the Church under the leadership of Pope Francis.

[Readers can share their own song recommendations in the comments section below.]

Leave a Comment