New sacred music disc recorded in the Sistine Chapel

Here’s some musical news.  The Sistine Chapel Choir recorded a new disc of sacred music in the Sistine Chapel.  It is produced by Deutsche Grammophon and it is called

Cantate Domino.  UK HERE

Recorded in the chapel for which most of the pieces were composed and in which they were originally sung.

  1. 1. Gregorian Chant – Rorate caeli desuper
  2. 2. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525–1594) – Ad te levavi
  3. 3. Orlande de Lassus (1532–1594) – Magnificat VIII toni
  4. 4. Gregorian Chant – Lumen ad revelationem gentium attrib. Palestrina – Nunc dimittis (World premiere recording)
  1. 5. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Super flumina Babylonis
  2. 6. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Improperium exspectavit cor meum
  3. 7. Gregorio Allegri (1582–1652) – Miserere Sistine Codex of 1661 (World premiere recording)
  4. 8. Gregorian Chant – Christus factus est pro nobis
  5. 9. Felice Anerio (c. 1560–1614) – Christus factus est pro nobis
  6. 10. Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611) – Popule meus (Improperia)
  7. 11. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Adoramus te, Christe
  8. 12. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Sicut cervus
  9. 13. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Angelus Domini
  10. 14. Orlande de Lassus – Iubilate Deo
  11. 15. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Constitues eos principes
  12. 16. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Tu es Petrus

Alas, no Giovannelli.

Here are a couple video trailers for the disc.

2 views at the time I posted this.

Is the Sistina a great choir?  Not yet, but it is getting better.  Still, this disc has some spiffy music.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Elizabeth D says:

    I remember when I wanted to sing the hymn “Rorate caeli” during Advent and a teen schola director seemed to think that would be controversial and wouldn’t let us.

  2. de_cupertino says:

    That Super Flumina Babylonis text was the Offertory from last Sunday. Interestingly, it was one of the three “imprecatory” psalms deliberately removed from the psalter when they redid the Liturgy of the Hours after the Council. Quite a heart-wrenching tale of exile and longing. (Psalm 136, or 137 in a newer bible: By the rivers of Babylon.)

  3. Mary Jane says:

    They recorded several of the same pieces our choir recorded for our first CD (FSSP parish, the CD is called Lux in Tenebris). Some great pieces on this CD from the Sistine Chapel! You can’t beat the Allegri (as we fondly call it), that’s for sure. I’m not sure Mozart should have “snuck it out of” the Sistine Chapel, but, well, there it is. :) I am interested to hear the Sistine Codex of 1661 version on this CD…I recently heard a recording of The Sixteen singing a different version of the Allegri, and it was really interesting. Lots of extra embellishments.

  4. JARay says:

    I would have to agree that the choir is not as spot on as others are, but it is great to hear the improvements made. Choirs such as The Sixteen and King’s College rightly (in my opinion) still have a clarity which others can only aspire to.

  5. John Nolan says:

    The choir has greatly improved since Palombella took over, and unlike the men and boys of Westminster Cathedral they don’t sing Mass and Vespers on a daily basis. Also at papal masses there is a reluctance to sing polyphonic Ordinaries (although the Credo from Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli crops up occasionally). I look forward to hearing this disc.

  6. Caritas in veritate says:

    Save yourselves and your dollars- said kindly. Spend your dinero on the St. John Cantius Ordo- and for a good cause there too.
    Plus- You all have better renditions of these songs elsewhere.

  7. Maltese says:

    Thank you Father–music almost seven centuries old, to be enjoyed for another seven centuries, in one of the most beautiful ancient chapels in the world! Puts time into perspective!

  8. jaykay says:

    Interesting, thanks Fr. I’ve sung many of these pieces and have never actually heard a recording of the Sistina, so maybe I will invest (via the Amazon link).

    Mary Jane commented: “I recently heard a recording of The Sixteen singing a different version of the Allegri, and it was really interesting. Lots of extra embellishments.”

    A couple of years ago I attended a choral workshop in Dublin with members of The Sixteen (they do these around the UK and Ireland). We went through various versions of the Allegri Miserere, and they explained how it had evolved, since nothing has survived from Allegri’s time and various composers have interpreted it according to their own notions and prevailing tastes. This was just after the release of their CD featuring the piece in various versions. Stunning CD, I definitely would recommend it.

  9. Geoffrey says:

    Beautiful. I was thinking what a nice Christmas gift this would make for someone to give me, but then I thought what a wonderful gift it would make to others… particularly some clergy and others involved in “liturgical” music!

    “Is the Sistina a great choir? Not yet, but it is getting better…”

    I consider anyone who can sing better than me as great, and that’s just about everyone!

  10. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If you would support a local parish choir raising funds by an album, or if you would support a local choir showing their improvement by recording an album, why would you not support the Sistine folks doing the same?

  11. jameeka says:

    This is an interesting and beautiful CD. At first when listening to it, I thought the sound rather mushy and echo-y, sort of like when you play the piano with the sustained pedal the whole time. But gradually the combined voices and their reverberations can really transport you to a celestial place for a short while.
    Thank you for the recommendation Father Z!

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