Miserere

Gregorio ALLEGRI arr. JACKSON

 

Miserere Mei, Deus (to give its full title) was thought to have been written in the 1630's for the Tenebrae matins service in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.  It was jealously guarded (under the threat of excommunication for any transgressors) and virtually unknown outside Rome until the precocious 14 year old Mozart heard it for the first time and promptly transcribed it in its entirety when he returned to his chambers that night.  He made some minor corrections after a second hearing on the Good Friday but, rather than receiving the feared  excommunication when later summoned by Pope Clement XIV, he was instead awarded a special commendation.

Andy Jackson's arrangement of the original sublime vocal setting of Psalm 51 does not carry a Papal blessing (that we know of) but it transforms the piece into an atmospheric short piece for chamber orchestra, the flute carrying the original boy treble line.

The Cobweb Orchestra were honoured to be able to perform this version of Miserere in La Chiesa di Sant'Agostino in San Gimignano, Tuscany, in August 2015, where the resonating, ethereal acoustics lent the piece an added authenticity and validation.  A low-grade recording of the piece being performed in a Cumbrian church in July 2016 can be heard here.

Instrumentation: 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bb Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in Bb, Percussion (Timpani), Strings.

 

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