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Sistine Chapel Choir to release first ever album in time for Christmas

Boys in the Sistine Chapel choir in St Peter's Basilica (Photo: CNS)

The Sistine Chapel Choir, one of the oldest choirs in the world, is to release its first ever album.

The album, Cantate Domino, was recorded in the Sistine Chapel itself. It reportedly includes music written for the choir by Palestrina, Lassus and Victoria as well as two Gregorian chants and the original version of Allegri’s Miserere.

Released by Universal Music, it was recorded by British producer Anna Barry, who set up a mixing desk in an ante-chamber next to the Sala del Pianto, or “Room of Tears”.

Mgr Massimo Palombella, director of the Sistine Chapel Choir, said: “The Sistine Chapel was consecrated in 1483 and has been home to the papal choir ever since. After an intensive period of study and scholarship of the sacred music in the Renaissance and its aesthetic pertinence, we have arrived at the point of making the first commercial recording, in this remarkable building, with this prestigious label.

“It is my hope that these masterworks will touch millions of listeners worldwide, and connect them to the historical culture and deep spirituality of the Catholic Church.

“The music we have recorded was created for papal celebrations in the Sistine Chapel and by composers who wrote specifically for the Sistine Chapel Choir,” Mgr Palombella added.

The Sistine Chapel Choir, consisting of 20 men and about 35 boy choristers, dates back to the pontificate of Sylvester I (314–35) under the name of schola cantorum.

In 2012 the choir performed for the first time in Britain, singing at Westminster Cathedral. In the same year the choir of Westminster Abbey sung with the Sistine Chapel Choir at a papal Mass in St Peter’s Basilica.