Allegri: Miserere / Palestrina: Stabat Mater; Magnificat primi toni; etc

Allegri: Miserere / Palestrina: Stabat Mater; Magnificat primi toni; etc cover
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Allegri: Miserere / Palestrina: Stabat Mater; Magnificat primi toni; etc
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge / Sir David Willcocks

[ Decca Legends / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 1 November 2002

Allegri's Miserere (Psalm 51) is the piece which was jealously guarded by the Papal Choir, until the occasion when Mozart heard it and promptly wrote it out from memory - an astonishing feat, especially for someone of only 14 years of age. This setting is especially remembered for its sensational recurring solo phrases, and there has never been a performance of these solo phrases to match the one in this classic King's recording by the treble, Roy Goodman.

The whole recording remains a true highlight of the many outstanding Argo recordings which were made of the famous King's College Choir at Cambridge in the glorious acoustic of King's College Chapel

"The sensational thing about Allegri's Miserere nowadays is a recurring phrase above the treble stave, which the solo boy brings off with the utmost aplomb. Fabulous is the only word for it."

"The best performance of Palestrina's Stabat Mater I've ever heard ... the beauty and devotional fervour of the rendering as a whole. The trebles sing superbly and David Willcocks's choice of dynamics and the rhythmic movement he gives to the music is entirely to my liking."

Extract from the sleeve notes by Roy Goodman - treble solo on the recording, and now a distinguished conductor and early music specialist

We were not given much technical vocal instruction but simply learnt 'on the job' from the older boys. In the early 1960s we performed David Willcocks' edition of Allegri's Miserere every Ash Wednesday and I was lucky enough to sing the solo part several times. On the day that we made the present recording, I had only just finished playing a rugby match an hour or so before the session. I had no time for a proper shower and still had muddy knees under my long trousers. When I arrived at Chapel the choir was already rehearsing and David Willcocks was trying out several boys for the solo - we were never chosen in advance, to spare us from getting nervous. It seemed that I was on good form, so without any further preparation we started recording the Allegri as the final item on an LP of music for an Ash Wednesday Evensong. I remember a later conversation with Sir David, when I expressed some personal dissatisfaction with some of my solo verses; he kindly told me that he had tried to preserve one complete live performance rather than contrive a 'perfect' edited version, and that if I received a penny every time it was played I would become a millionaire. Sadly there was no contract to that effect - the commercial potential of choristers is clearly a more recent phenomenon!

"The famous 1963 King's performance of Allegri's Miserere, with its equally arresting treble solo so beautifully and securely sung by Roy Goodman, is now reissued, impressively remastered in Decca's Legends series."
(*** Three Stars. Penguin Stereo Guide)

"Fabulous is the only word for it" (Gramophone)


Miserere mei, Deus (Allegri)
Stabat Mater (Palestrina)
Hodie Beata Virgo (Palestrina)
Senex Puerum Portabat (Palestrina)
Magnificat primi toni (Palestrina)
Litaniae de Beata Virgine Maria (Palestrina)