Sarah Dunant’s novel Sacred Hearts, about the nuns of Ferrera, has recently been serialised on Radio 4. She was inspired to write it after hearing the singing of the Sussex-based group Musica Secreta, who have researched the music of the nunnery, and its many parallels with the monastery.
The music which introduced the serialisation was sung by the group led by Deborah Roberts, and made quite an impact on listeners. It has now appeared on compact disc on the Divine Art label, and contains plain chants, and a Mass and Lamentations by Palestrina. Where other female textures may sound a little light, a tactful organ has been added, and this is an immensely relaxing experience from a highly professional group.