Some interesting background on several of Palestrina’s most famous compositions:
A favourite composition is the Missa Papae Marcelli, whose text (written by Palestrina himself) congratulates the newly-elected Pope Marcellus IV on the purchase of a new diamond-encrusted chasuble. Other works often heard are the battle hymn Sicut cervus, which prays to St Januarius to send a plague of rickets upon all loyal churchmen, and the interminable Stabat mater, which expresses the deep sorrow of the Virgin Mary at the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
So it appears, at least, to a vigilant low-church Anglican. There’s more gold where that came from.
Let’s hear that tuneless, meandering battle hymn:
(Hat-tip: The Chant Cafe)