Sunday, April 17, 2011

Music for Palm Sunday: Gregorio Allegri - Miserere

Things have changed in the last four centuries.  Today, a musician wants his music distributed as widely as possible, in our consumer society.  Then, a musician could be very well satisfied with his music being forbidden to all but a small, elite few.

Gregorio Allegri was  one of the Pope's musicians.  He was one of the first composers for stringed instruments, but A Capella music for the Mass was his specialty.  His Miserere is without doubt his masterpiece.

Certainly the Pope thought so, and had it reserved for Holy Week in the Sistine Chapel.  Reproduction of the score was forbidden, on pain of excommunication.  For a century, the only way to hear this was to visit the Vatican.  Until a young Mozart went there, and then transcribed it from memory.

Music for your Palm Sunday, a capella in nine voices, a musical scoring of Psalm 51: Allegri's Miserere.

Psalm 51
For the leader. A psalm of David,
when Nathan the prophet came to him after his affair with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.
Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.
A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.
Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on your altar.


libertyman said...

Do you know the CD this is from?

doubletrouble said...

I don't like using the word, but



Borepatch said...

Libertyman, shame on me for not replying sooner.

All I know is that it's on the YOUTUBE COLLECTION. ;-)

But it seems that just about everyone's done it.