A Lenten Reflection

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lent is here and New York is bursting with choral performances honoring the season. This week Kent Tritle presents a program of important works that are particularly relevant to the time of year.

Gregorio Allegri's Miserere mei, Deus ("Have mercy on me, O God") remains one of the most celebrated works of Renaissance polyphony. Composed in the 1630's for Holy Week at the Sistine Chapel, Miserere is scored for two choirs, one of five voices, and the other of four. The work is generally performed in a surround-sound experience with the choirs stationed at opposite sides of the church. Allegri's writing is dark and atmospheric, from the lowest voice to the solo soprano's wide intervals, which creates an ethereal experience.
At age 14 Mozart visited Rome, where he heard Miserere for the first time. He was so inspired by the music that he went home and wrote down the entire piece from memory. The score was published, and it became the first illegal copy. Pope Clement XIV summoned Mozart, and instead of punishing him for exposing this sacred work, he praised the young Mozart for his talent.  
In addition to the music of Allegri, this week’s highlights include Bach's Mass in B Minor, Mozart's Mass in C minor, Brahms' Geistliche Choirmusik, and sacred works by Mendelssohn.

Weigh in: Is there a particular piece that is evocative of the season to you? Leave a comment below.


Mass in C Minor
Academy of Ancient Music
Christoppher Hogwood, conductor

Miserere, "O Vos Omnes"
Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola
Kent Tritle, director

Geistliche Chormusik

RIAS Chamber Choir
Marcus Creed, director
Berlin, Germany

Sacred Choral Music
Trinity College Cambridge
Richard Marlow,director

Mass in B Minor
American Bach Soloists
Jeffrey Thomas, director
San Francisco, CA

Comments [7]

Rick Scott from New Jersey

Kent, It was great to hear the Allegri again. The high soprano reminded me of my wife. Oh, wait, it was my wife.

Mar. 16 2011 04:04 PM
Nathan M. K. from Northern PA

This program was wonderful! I was very pleased to hear "Schaffe in mir Gott" and "Richte mich Gott". I had just performed them a few weeks ago.

Mar. 14 2011 06:44 PM
Ed Cole

I just wanted to say thanks for playing such a beautiful selection of music and then putting it online. This was my first visit to the website and am blessed to know that it is available. Thank you.

Mar. 14 2011 08:18 AM
Thom from Charlottesville, VA

My early music group is doing the Allegri in an evensong in a few weeks. And love Schaffe in mir Gott. I sang that on college choir tour--tough piece to do well. But I love the counterpoint and the rich textures. I enjoyed meeting you at the conference the other day.Thanks!

Mar. 13 2011 11:25 PM

Thanks for getting these episodes up online quickly! My favorite way to listen.
Another wonderful show today.

Mar. 13 2011 04:34 PM

Oh, wow, I just noticed that this week's program is POD-able. It was a joy to hear over breakfast, and I so wanted to hear that performance of the Allegri again ...

Thank you!!!!!

Mar. 13 2011 12:02 PM

Our church choir traditionally performs 'Ave Verum Corpus' at Holy Thursday mass. The effect is so powerful, that for several moments afterwards, the church is completely silent. For me, it's the most beautiful moment in the Lenten season.

Mar. 13 2011 10:17 AM

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