In keeping with the theme of the Pope’s encyclical on climate change and the environment (which has been the subject of this week’s Some weekend reading and Saturday Quote, my Song for Sunday is Gregorio Allegri’s glorious “Miserere mei, Deus”.
Composed around the 1630s, for many years it was only allowed to be performed in the Sistine Chapel (where Pope Francis was elected, hence the loose connection with the Pope’s encyclical!) According to popular legend (and there is evidence to support the story) when Mozart was 14 he went to the Chapel and heard the Miserere. That evening he transcribed it from memory, and made corrections after hearing it again the following day. While it wasn’t the first time an illicit copy had been made, it is certainly the most famous.
This recording, by the Tallis Scholars from 1980, is the first version of the Miserere I owned. I also went to see the Scholars perform the piece in the Sydney Opera House in the 1990’s. It was enchanting.
If you liked this post please follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to watch some previous songs for Sunday (even though none of them are like this one!):