April 24, 2015
Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more
(or “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”)
It is astonishing that the score to Allegri’s Miserere Mei was such a closely guarded secret by the Holy See — it was considered to be “too beautiful” — that whoever was caught copying it was threatened with excommunication (which nevertheless didn’t stop Mozart, who else, from transcribing it from memory at age 14).
Performances today are probably less ornate than what the Roman school would have recommended back in the 17th century, but it remains a work of breathtaking beauty.