words by Carol King
The most iconic churches in Rome and the Vatican will be the venue for November’s International Festival of Sacred Music and Art.
Now in its 11th edition, the festival consists of a series of concerts and recitals staged in the Papal Basilicas of Rome. The event aims to increase public awareness of the activities of the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra (Foundation for Sacred Music and Art), which raises funds for the restoration of religious artefacts and buildings.
Money raised by the festival will go towards ongoing restoration projects on the western façade of St Peter’s Basilica and the organ of the Chiesa Gesuita San Francesco Saverio (Jesuit Church of St Francis Xavier) in Rome. The Basilica is in urgent need of restoration because water filtering through cracks in the façade threatens to damage the interior.
The festival runs from 2 to 13 November. The orchestra in residence is the Vienna Philharmonic. Pieces to be performed include Giovanni Sgambati’s ‘Requiem Mass’, Anton Bruckner’s ‘Symphony No. 7’, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s ‘Adagio and Fugue in C minor K. 546’.
Among the concert venues are the Baroque Basilica di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola in Campo Marzio (Basilica of St Ignatius Loyola at Campus Martius); the Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli (Basilica of St Mary of the Altar of Heaven) on Capitol Hill; and Rome’s largest Marian church, the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore (Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major). Attendance is open to those who donate to the foundation.