A Muslim, an agnostic and a Catholic compose for Pope

Simon Boswell, Nour Eddine and Stefano Mainetti are the three composers who have written music specially for the album 'Alma Mater', which features the voice of Pope Benedict XVI, it has been revealed today.

Pope Benedict with outstretched arms

Mainetti is a Rome-born Roman Catholic, Boswell is a Brit of 'undeclared' religious belief and Eddine is a Moroccan and Muslim. Aside from the Pope, 'Alma Mater' also features the Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome conducted by Monsignor Pablo Colino, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Pope has said that he is 'convinced that music really is the universal language of beauty which can bring together all people of good will on earth'. It is this aim to create an album with universal appeal which has determined the choice of composers of different religious beliefs, including Boswell who declares none. Vincent Messina, producer of Alma Mater, says, ‘Their wonderful compositions for ‘Alma Mater' have exceeded our expectations and we have all been very moved at how successfully these modern scores blend with the choir, the orchestra and the Pope's voice.'

Alma Mater CD cover Simon Boswell and Stefano Mainetti are both award-winning film composers, and Mainetti also composed music for ‘Abba Pater', the first album to feature the voice of a pontiff, that of Pope John Paul II. Nour Eddine's background is world music, particularly the Arabic tradition. He says he was delighted to discover that the traditions of Gregorian chant and Arabic melody could be brought together so harmoniously.

The album, which was announced in July, will be released on 29 November on Geffen/Universal. It will be Pope Benedict XVI's first appearance on album, and he will sing speak and sing in Latin, Italian, Portuguese, French and German.

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