During his time as Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013) Joseph Ratzinger added to his rich lit-erary work three more books. The first volume was published in 2007, and was titled "Je-sus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration". In 2011 the sec-ond volume: "Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection" was released.
In 2012, finally, his third volume came out, titled "Jesus of Nazareth: PROLOG-The Infancy Narratives".
One reason why Pope Benedict released the Infancy Narrative as the last book of his Trilo-gy is, according to his own statement that he was afraid that he might not live long enough to complete his book-series due to old age. Another reason was that Pope Benedict was particularly interested first to offer the theological connections and their hermeneutic inter-pretations of Jesus’ adult life and ministry.
The idea to set to music Pope Benedicts Jesus-Trilogy as a “classical symphony” did arise a while ago, but the realization of such an endeavor turned out to be rather complicated. While the works of Joseph Ratzinger are brilliantly rational and historical, music appeals first and foremost to “feelings”. Therefore a musical work like the one presented here can by no means replace the reading of a book. But maybe it can try – in addition and on the level of feelings - to convey the beauty of the things that Pope Benedict XVI was able to express so ingeniously.
In contrast to Pope Benedict’s literary work, which can usually be examined by logic, her-meneutics and by historical methods, musical work is harder to evaluate. Of course, musi-cology provides many tools to analyze a musical piece by means of its complexity or or-chestral instrumentation, arrangements etc.; but such efforts usually remain in the world of academics. I believe that music is supposed to communicate not (only) rational information but rather a kind of information that conveys what the author did “feel” while composing his musical work, i.e. to cause similar feelings while listening.
Furthermore I am convinced that “beautiful music” (knowing very well that this notion is ra-ther controversial) has its origin in GOD; He is the author of everything good and beautiful (see James 1:16-17).
In that sense, I consider myself merely a tool that seeks to "bring in" part of the beauty of God into our earthly life. Naturally, this endeavor remains for us humans always an imper-fect one; but maybe it is possible for me to pass on to the listener at least a bit of the beauty of the works of Joseph Ratzinger and what I did experienced on the beauty of God.
So here a musical trilogy is planned, based on the books of Pope Benedict XVI.
The first part, starting with the "setting to music" of the third volume of the Jesus trilogy of Pope Benedict XVI you find here.
Special thanks to Pope Benedict XVI for his rich life's work and his blessing for my work!
Thanks also to Daniel Smutny (Lecturer in Composition at the Detmold University of Music, Germany) for his valuable and helpful suggestions; without them this work would not have gained its final form!
Lee J. Cooper, August 2018