A lambskin parchment conferring a Papal knighthood on the boy-prodigy Mozart is to be put on public view for the first time as the Vatican opens up its secret archives.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was just 14 when he attended a performance of Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican on April 11, 1770. Because Allegri’s composition for two choirs was considered sacred music, the Roman Catholic Church forbade its reproduction. But Mozart, touring Italy with his father Leopold, returned to his room and transcribed the 13-minute work.
“You have often heard of the famous Miserere in Rome, which is so greatly prized that the performers are forbidden on pain of excommunication to take away a single part of it, to copy it or to give it to anyone,” Leopold wrote to his wife. “But we have it already. Wolfgang has written it down.” The feat earned Mozart celebrity and an invitation to an audience with Pope Clement XIV, who conferred on him the Chivalric Order of the Golden Spur. – The Times
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.