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Pope's Older Brother Featured At Concert

VATICAN CITY (AP) — He might not be well-known to music buffs, but composer Georg Ratzinger strikes a familiar chord with Pope Benedict XVI.

A piece by the pope’s older brother was played at a concert Thursday evening in the pontiff’s honor along compositions by Mozart, Liszt, Wagner and Mendelssohn. The music was performed by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and directed by Christian Thielemann.

Benedict thanked the musicians at the end of the concert, saying “you have let us experience some of the vastness of the musical creativity that … has always been fed by Europe’s Christian roots.”

Ratzinger, also a priest, composed his “Sanctus” piece for a Mass for the Holy Year. It was sung by the Regensburger Domspatzen, the boy’s choir of the Regensburg Cathedral that Ratzinger oversaw when he was music director of the cathedral from 1964 until his retirement in 1994.

The choir, which is more than 1,000 years old, has performed in countries including the United States, Japan and Korea under Ratzinger’s direction.

Ratzinger attended the Thursday night concert at the Vatican — one of several times the two brothers have been seen in public since Joseph was elected pope in April.

In May, Georg Ratzinger received an award from Austria at a Vatican ceremony in honor of his contributions to music and long links to Austria. In August, he visited his brother but was hospitalized in Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli because of an irregular heartbeat and had a pacemaker implanted and the pope came to visit him in the hospital.