What can we expect from the German Pope in terms of musical policy? New Yorker editor Leo Carey writes: "Have you noticed that the world is being gradually taken over by unlikeable conservative hardliners who are good pianists? Seems that Ratzi, like Condi, favors the core Austro-German repertoire. Hardly surprising — one wouldn't have figured him for a Poulenc man. [I should hope not!] He has said that rock music styles are incompatible with church liturgy. In 1986 he described rock music as 'the secularized variation' of an age-old type of religion in which man uses music — and drugs and alcohol — to lower 'the barriers of individuality and personality,' to liberate 'himself from the burden of consciousness. Music becomes ecstasy ... amalgamation with the universe.' This 'is the complete antithesis of the Christian faith in the redemption.' More recently, he wrote The Spirit of the Liturgy, which portrays music as a language which transcends rational speech." Evidently, there's good irrationality and bad irrationality. Sacred music, the Pope says, should aim for "sober inebriation."
Brian Wise of WNYC's Soundcheck writes to point out the contrast between the new Pope and the Bob Dylan-loving old one. This AP photo illustrates the sort of scene that we will evidently not be witnessing at the court of Benedict XVI. Nor is it likely that we will be hearing much twelve-tone music in the Vatican. According to a paraphrase by a commentator, Benedict disapproves not only of "pop (a manufactured commodity)" but also of "rationally constructed high-brow music (an elite, degenerate form of 'classical' music)." Holy cow — Theodor W. Adorno has been elected Pope.