Cappella Magna

Choral music from the Sistine Chapel including works by Palestrina, Allegri, Josquin & Morales

At the time of the Renaissance, the Sistine Choir – which performed at services when the pope officiated – drew musicians and singers from all over Italy and northern Europe. Among the most famous composers who became members were Josquin des Prez (c.1450-1521) and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-94). Both composers feature in Collegium Musicum’s summer concert of a cappella masterpieces, inspired by Rome’s Sistine Chapel, or Cappella Magna.

Alongside Palestrina’s momentous Missa Papae Marcelli and works by Pelosi, de Orto, Simonelli, Anerio, Morales and Agostini, the choir performs the famous Miserere, the sublime nine-voice setting of Psalm 51, composed in 1638 by singer, Catholic priest and – as it turned out – one-hit wonder Gregorio Allegri.

Powerful voices in the Vatican took a special liking to the work soon after it was written and decreed that itwas not to be copied or removed from the Vatican on pain of excommunication. In effect, the Church banned its performance anywhere in the world except within the Sistine Chapel. That was until the apparent intervention of a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who is reputed to have secretly transcribed the work after hearing a single performance during a trip to Rome with his father. His clandestine score eventually found its way into the public domain and the rest, of course, is history.

Join London’s liveliest chamber choir in the Palladian splendour of St Peter’s Church in Eaton Square, a new venue for the ensemble, as it performs these heavenly works under the superlative direction of its talented conductor Greg Morris.

July 6 2024, 7.30 pm
St Peter’s, Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AL