Grammy winner sings with Sistine Chapel Choir in new Christmas CD

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a new release of music for
Advent and Christmas, multiple Grammy award-winning mezzo-soprano Cecilia
Bartoli sings with the pope’s Sistine Chapel Choir.

It marks the first time one of the oldest choirs in the
world has issued a recording with a female singer, Msgr. Massimo Palombella,
director of the Sistine Chapel Choir, told Catholic News Service.

The new 16-track CD, “Veni Domine: Advent and
Christmas at the Sistine Chapel,” was to be released in Italy Oct. 27 and
worldwide in November with the proceeds earmarked for the poor through the
pope’s charities.

Produced by Deutsche Grammophon and Universal Music
Italia, the CD marks the fourth joint venture between the music companies and
the papal choir; the other CDs include “Habemus Papam” and
“Cantate Domino.”

Like “Cantate Domino,” “Veni Domine”
was recorded in the Sistine Chapel not only for its rich acoustic effects, but
also because the musical compositions chosen had originally been composed to be
sung in the chapel for papal celebrations, the monsignor told reporters at a
news conference Oct. 24.

The one change adjustment made to the chapel was that carpets
were put down to improve the sound quality, said Mirko Gratton, head of the
classical and jazz music division at Universal Music Italia.

All of the musical selections, Msgr. Palombella said, were
taken from the choir’s vast ancient archives at the Vatican Library. Three of the
Renaissance-era compositions have never been performed in modern times, he

The pontifical choir, which traces its history back to
the 1470s, is dedicated to making its music known beyond the walls of Vatican
City and to helping people experience Christ through sacred music, he said.

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Editors: The CD can be ordered or downloaded beginning
Oct. 27 at: or from Amazon,
Apple music or iTunes.

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