Monday, February 23, 2015

Pope Francis' favorite German conductor

From Vatican Insider: 

When the moment came to exchange gifts after their conversation in the Vatican Library, German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented Francis with three books of poems by German poet Friedrich Hölderlin, all of them original editions from 1905. Francis had recently quoted the poet – who is one of his favourites - in one of his speeches. “You know him,” Mrs. Merkel said to the Pope in German, as she handed him the gift, o which the Pope answered “yes”.

 Mrs. Merkel also gave the Pope a box set of 107 CDs with classical pieces conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler. “I don’t know if you will find the time to listen to these,” the German Chancellor said to the Pope. On the flight to Italy, she told journalists that Bergoglio is very fond of Furtwangler, whom he once described as: “Germany’s most brilliant conductor and the greatest Wagner and Beethoven expert.

His Holiness has good taste. I am a Furtwangler fan, too. And may I add that we have had several popes now who are music connoisseurs.

One of these days we will have to find out which conductors Pope Benedict loves. Well, I imagine he esteems Furtwangler too.

Here is an excellent video, in color, of the back of the maestro's head.