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Mozart and Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere Mei Deus

Posted By Liam Clancy On April 29, 2017 @ 10:54 pm In Musical | Comments Disabled

Informant:

Karl is a freshman aerospace engineering major. He spent thirteen years in a traditional boy’s chorus. He is also an avid soccer player

Piece:

So there is this famous song called Miserere mei deus by this italian composer gregorio Allegri. And most people either call it the Allegri or just Miserere. But there is this super famous story about it cause like it was written for the catholic church and only ever sung by the Vatican chorus during holy week within the sistine chapel because it was considered to be too perfect to ever be performed anywhere else. So in like the 1770’s or around that time Mozart got to go with his dad to listen to the Miserere and observe the holy week service within the sistine chapel. Wolfgang Mozart was only fourteen years old but his dad was an important composer who was invited to come to the service by the pope. That night though, when they got back to where they were staying Wolfgang Mozart wrote the entire piece down just from his own memory after hearing it just once. So when I hear the piece I don’t just hear the beauty of Allegri’s writing, but I also better comprehend the true genius that Mozart was.

Collector’s thoughts:

The Informant said that he learned this legend from his choir director who claimed to have heard it when they were young. The fact that this anecdote, independent of its validity, is told to young children helps to reveal that it is a way to inspire young people to unlock their musical potential by giving an example of what a famous composer accomplished when he was young. This legend is somewhat well document and more can be read here:

 

http://www.classicfm.com/composers/mozart/guides/mozart-allegri-miserere/

Additionally, Allegri’s Miserere can be heard here:

 

 


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URL to article: http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=37099