As the world knows, Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff — and a noted classical music aficionado — landed Tuesday at Andrews Air Base to begin his first-ever visit to the United States.

On Wednesday, he will attend a special ceremony on the White House’s South Lawn, with a 21-gun salute, a Marine band playing the pontifical anthem and an expected 25,000 people gathered on nearby grounds and streets. Afterward, the pontiff will board the Popemobile — a glass-enclosed Jeep Wrangler — and then cruise through downtown Washington as thousands cheer.

In previous interviews, Pope Francis has cited his three favorite classical music artists: Beethoven, Wagner and Mozart. With that in mind, might we suggest a little traveling music, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as the Popemobile wends its way through the nation’s capital.

Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3: The pontiff on several occasions has ranked this work (which the CSO played just last week at its free Concert for Chicago) as his all-time favorite. (In the clip embedded below, it’s performed by the CSO under guest conductor Edo de Waart.)

The prelude to Wagner’s Parsifal: Pope Francis is partial to the landmark 1962 performance led by Hans Knappertsbusch at the Bayreuth Festival, but for his consideration, we offer this audio clip of the CSO, conducted by Asher Fisch.

Mostly Mozart: “Among musicians I love Mozart, of course,” the pope has observed. “Mozart fulfills me. But I cannot think about his music; I have to listen to it.” Of Mozart’s works, he especially loves Et incarnatus est from the composer’s Mass in C Minor: “It lifts you to God!”

As there is no audio clip of this piece available in the CSO’s Soundcloud library, might we suggest Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, again led by Edo de Waart.

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Pope Francis’ favorite actress, the great Anna Magnani, coincidentally can be viewed tonight (Sept. 23) in “The Passionate Thief,” screening as part of the Gene Siskel Film Center’s monthlong series, “Cinema all’Italiana: Films from the Post-Neorealist Era.” The 1960 comedy, directed by Mario Monicelli, has been newly restored and is being shown in a 2K DCP. Not to be missed.

TOP: Although Pope Francis loves tango and likes punk goddess Patti Smith, he’s most partial to classical music. | Photo: Wikipedia