Desert Island Discs: No.5 ‘Crucifixus’

To celebrate the Pope’s visit to Britain, and to offer some counterbalance to my resolutely anti-Catholic (and sometimes quite offensive) Facebook news-stream, here’s my favourite piece of music of all time: ‘Crucifixus’ by Antonio Lotti (1667-1740). This is a short, seeringly beautiful part of Lotti’s setting of the Catholic Mass. My version of choice is by The Sixteen,Continue reading “Desert Island Discs: No.5 ‘Crucifixus’”

Desert Island Discs: No. 2 ‘Miserere mei deus’

I was first introduced to Gregorio Allegri’s ‘Miserere mei deus’ (the Italian composer’s setting of Psalm 51) by my mother whilst she was on a research sabbatical from teaching at Merton College, Oxford. I guess around 1995. Composed in the 1630s for exclusive use in the Sistine Chapel, it’s an extraordinarily beautiful piece of RenaissanceContinue reading “Desert Island Discs: No. 2 ‘Miserere mei deus’”

Cultural (mis)adventures

Two recent adventures. Two weekends ago I travelled up to Cambridge for the annual Procession for Advent at King’s College Chapel. This is less famous than the Christmas Eve Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (broadcast annually on BBC Radio since 1928), but no less atmospheric. With its giant nave and astonishing fan vaulting the Chapel is one of theContinue reading “Cultural (mis)adventures”