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Pope to release album to spread the word

Published on 12/11/2009

Rome -- An album of Pope Benedict XVI speaking against a background of specially composed classical and world music will be released on November 30 but the Vatican said it will get only 31,000 euros from the deal.

The disc, Alma Mater, includes eight extracts of the pope speaking in different languages, including a rendition of the Regina Coeli hymn.

It has been integrated with music composed by Simon Boswell and Stefano Mainetti, played by Britain’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanied by a choir conducted by the chapel master of St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

Boswell and Mainetti are well known for their movie scores. Boswell written music for movies in Europe and Hollywood, including works such as Pornography: The Musical. Mainetti also has a varied career in film music which includes Silent Trigger and Tales of The Mummy.

The Vatican will receive just over 31,000 euros for granting record company Geffen UK/Universal non-exclusive rights to use images and the pope’s voice, said spokesman Federico Lombardi.

He said the intention was not "to do business with the voice of the Pope.”

The goal of the "experience,” Lombardi said, is to find "new ways and places in which to diffuse" the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and to reach "wider audiences.”

Part of the profits will be given to children’s organisations, he added.

The voice of the Pope represents only a small part of the CD: "nine minutes and 47 seconds" on a "total running time of 49 minutes,” Lombardi said.

The pope would "certainly" listen to the disc but he had "not had a reaction for the moment," the spokesman said.

Nour Eddine, a Moroccan world musician based in Italy, said he was "very surprised" to have been asked to contribute but the transition from world music to this project "was done without difficulty. It was all very natural.”