The Sistine Chapel Choir has been active in one form or another since 1471. The house band of the Vatican, they sing during many of the services and events held at Saint Peter’s Basilica. The choir is y made up of 20 tenors and basses along with 30 boys who take the alto and soprano voice parts. The boy voices are known in the choir as the “White Voices” because of their innocent quality.
“Quem vidistis, pastores — Dicite, quidnam vidistis” is from their latest album, Veni Domine: Advent & Christmas at the Sistine Chapel. Written by Tomás Luis de Victoria, a 16th-century Spanish composer, the song is in the form of a motet. Motets were the most popular style of music written for church use during his era. The album will also premiere recordings of works by Dufay, Allegri, and Marenzio.
This music video was shot in the iconic Sistine Chapel and features some beautiful shots of the space. The music for their album was also recorded in the Sistine Chapel, so that the choir could retain the sound it’s accustomed to. It would seem that the high ceilings of the chapel are just as much a part of the choir as the singers.
The Sistine Chapel Choir is currently conducted by Massimo Palombella, a Salesian priest who was appointed to the position by Pope Benedict XVI, in 2010. The boys of the choir receive five years of intense musical studies tuition-free in exchange for their voices.
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