Gregorio Allegri (1582 – 1652)

Gregorio Allegri (1582 – 1652) was an Italian composer of sacred music for the Sistine Chapel, serving under Pope Urban VIII. He was heavily influenced by Palestrina and the Roman school. He was one of the early composers of sacred music which included stringed instruments in his sacred choral works; and he is the earliest known composer of string quartets.

His Miserere Mei Deus on the text of Psalm 50 is by far the most popular of his works. It is written for two small choirs, to be sung antiphonally. The second, smaller choir culminates each of the sections with a gorgeous, arched soprano solo. There are many videos of its performance available on YouTube but few of his other works. Pope Urban highly prized Miserere Mei Deus and forbade dissemination of its printed form. This is what Mozart heard twice in the Sistine Chapel, committed to memory and transcribed.

Missa Vidi turbam magnam (A Sei Voci)

Messe Vidi turbam magnam – Statuit ei dominum

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