A review of music written using Latin texts in service of the liturgy of the Catholic Church encompassing music written in all periods with a concentration on contemporary composers.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On the lighter side

This is an anecdote from Valle Adurni that I couldn't resist.

Some twenty years ago, I heard a story in Rome, from an official then high up in the Secretariat of State, which is presumably true. General Noriega, the dictator of Panama, having recently fallen from power, famously holed up in the Apostolic Nunciature, claiming sanctuary, or something of the sort. The Nunciature was promptly surrounded by hordes of gum-chewing GIs with guns trained on every window. Their war of attrition was prosecuted by loud American rock music (BAWN in the USA and the like) being directed at the Nunciature round the clock from powerful loudhailer systems.

In insomniacal desperation, the Nuncio contacted the Vatican Secretariat of State, and some high-up there telephoned the US embassy to the Vatican, threatening to send the Sistine Choir to sing under his windows unless the rock music was silenced. There was tranquillity in Panama within the hour. The Pope may not have many divisions; but he has got the Sistine Choir!

To put this into context there seems to be a vigil planned for outside the nunciature in Wimbledon during the Holy Father's upcoming visit. Mercifully it's scheduled to conclude at 8.30 p.m.

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