• Vatican launches contest to set Our Father to music

Vatican launches contest to set Our Father to music

Part of Umbria Music Fest on theme of freedom

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 16 - Following the success of the 2012 edition, which drew in over 200 scores from five continents, the 69th Umbria Music Fest in September 2014 will include an international competition for the composition of sacred music for the Premio Francesco Siciliani. The announcement was made Monday by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in collaboration with the Perugia Classical Music Foundation. The contest calls for a composition of up to 15 minutes, for a choir with or without an organ, to accompany that most well-known of all Christian prayers: 'Our Father'. Entries must be submitted by June 1, 2014. "One of the major problems beginning from the Second Vatican Council was to find new forms of expression, even of singing among common people. This may be one of the difficult stages that we have to go through in order to have good music," Ravasi said, as well as "the holy atmosphere that marks the liturgy". On September 13, the winning composition will be performed as part of the closing evening in the Assisi Basilica by the Stockholm cathedral choir under the direction of Gary Graden. Both the venue and the level are sublime, as is the international jury led by Poland's Krzysztof Penderecki, for lyrics that - as Ravasi underscored - could become the call of all of humanity, which "awaits a hand from the sky that will wash away all its fears and emptiness". "We could say that Our Father is really a prayer for the rediscovery of a Father who works to clothe His children in the concreteness of existence as well as to go to the depths of their hearts". "Sed Libera nos a Malo" - the last line of 'Our Father' - served as inspiration for this year's Umbria Music Fest theme, which will be "freedom throughout the centuries in all its multifaceted aspects". Freedom will also be the focus of a Lectio Magistralis that Cardinal Ravasi will hold on the final day of the concert in Perugia on September 13.