A Foundation for Art: for art that has left its mark in history and that lives forever, the art that man's spirit, knowledge and expertise cherishes, preserves and restores. These are the guiding principles of the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra, principles that engender respect for history and its extraordinary artistic heritage, devotion of all the different manifestations and traditions of sacredness. A mission that every year crystallizes into a pilgrimage at the discovery of beauty. The Foundation's objectives, clearly outlined in its written constitution, approved on the 21st of June 2002, are aimed at channelling its funds into protecting, restoring and promoting Italy's sacred artistic patrimony which because of its historical significance has contributed to making Italy the most beautiful and most visited country in the world. Much of this heritage is a vitally important part of the ancient past of the Church and of all the goodness, beauty and truth it has inspired in the creativity and hearts of men. This is why much of the conservation and restoration work, brought to fruition with the discerning help of DaimlerChrysler Italia, the Festival's invaluable partner, has taken place in the four Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome.
Details of the projects to date follow. The Chapel of St Stephen and, last year, the Chapel of St Benedict in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, both underwent restoration, the latter project dedicated to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. A round mosaic shield was also completed with the Foundation's contribution for the series of mosaic portraits of Sovereign Pontiffs and displayed to the audience at the concert held last year on the 26th of November. The Foundation has also funded the external restoration of the cupola of the Chapel of Sixtus V in the Basilica of St. Mary Major and the refurbishment of a pair of exceptionally fine Morettini organs built in 1886. The restoration of the German Chapel of the Holy House of Loreto in 2004 and the Library of the Papal Institute of Sacred Music in Rome in 2005 was made possible with the help of the Foundation and DaimlerChrysler Italia.
||Which brings us to 2006. The focus of attention this year was, and continues to be, the Vatican Necropolis and the exceptional treasures it houses. Treasures that are first and foremost of invaluable religious significance and secondly works of art. They are testaments of Christianity lying at the heart of Christian faith and history. It is here that the Prince of the Apostles is buried. The very foundations upon which a place of worship stood throughout the centuries that led to the building of the Basilica as we know it today are here.
Mausoleo dei Valeri
|It was also here, Petros eni, that Peter was first worshipped. The restoration of the Vatican Necropolis begun by the Fabric Committee of St Peter's foresaw the critical work carried out on the mausoleums of the Valerii, Matucci, and Egizi, located below the Vatican Grottoes which are directly underneath the central nave of the Basilica of St. Peter, a site of supreme holiness where the tomb of St Peter lays surrounded by twenty two sepulchral monuments embellished with stuccoed and pictorial decoration. It took three months of painstaking and meticulous work to restore certain parts of the monuments. The Foundation has already announced that the entire Mausoleum of the Valerii (Mausoleum H) is the project it will be funding in 2007. This building of impressive proportions is the most impressive mausoleum in the Necropolis and also the most ornamented, its walls richly embellished with herms and reliefs. Highly specialized restorers will be working on this monument requiring a high level of technical expertise, in conjunction with the Fabric of St Peter's. Members of the press and guests from all over the world will be invited to the work's unveiling ceremony held during the Festival 2007.
A Foundation for Music: Music that resonates as does religious art in a symphonic celebration of sacredness. Music heard, most importantly, in the extraordinary ambience of the Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome, performed by orchestras of international standing, such as the Vienna Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic. Every year the Festival invites ensembles to Rome, the Sacred City, the Eternal City, to perform cornerstones of the sacred repertoire spanning all the centuries, and rarities not often heard in concert. The beauty expressed in these sacred works performed in venues of such singular intimacy and so rich in spirituality affords the listener the opportunity to refine his inner self and lead him to the contemplation of Beauty and Truth. An achievement and experience that Pope John Paul II publicly applauded during the Angelus of Sunday the 23rd of November, 2003 to the congregated, both from Italy and abroad, who had come to listen to sublime music, and to praise all the musicians who had made this possible. The Foundation's activities also extend to unique concerts held throughout the year. We would like to remember here in particular the “Concerto dell’Immacolata in Vaticano” held on the 7th of December 2004 in the Aula Paolo VI, the Memorial Concert for Nicola Calipari at which Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem was performed in the Basilica of St. Ignatius on the 30th of April 2005, the world premiere of a Mass written by Hubert Steppan, Speravi in te, Domine in memory of Pope John Paul II, on 18 May 2005, the Christmas Concert, held on the 12th of December 2005 in St. Ignatius, performed by the choir and orchestra of Salzburg Cathedral conducted by János Czifra in a performance of Mozart's Coronation Mass in C Major KV 317, for the British American Tobacco Italia Foundation to launch the "dopo di noi" campaign to raise charity funds, and two concerts held as part of the fifth centenary celebrations of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, held earlier this year on the 4th and 6th May.
A foundation for People. Every year, the Foundation presents the “Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra” Award which since 2004 has been bequeathed to those artists, scholars, supporters, and benefactors who have given outstanding service to sacred music and art. The recipient of the first Award was the Honourable Gianni Letta, the second Award was presented to Cardinal Francesco Marchisano. Artists and masterpieces, institutions and history, art and patrimony. It is the express wish of the Foundation to continue to widen our knowledge and promote the conservation of Rome's vast sacred patrimony that has evolved over time and belongs to mankind, that includes the more familiar landmarks and the less visible. This mission is not only of benefit to Rome and Italy, it is of immense value to all humanity.
For further information:
Fondazione pro Musica e Arte Sacra
Via Paolo VI n. 29 (Piazza S.Pietro)
00193 Roma – Italia