The lyrics are taken from Psalm 42:
Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum, ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus
Translation: Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks so longeth my soul after thee, O God.
Palestrina began his musical career as a choir boy at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. He was an organist and choirmaster at many churches during his lifetime including the Cathedral in Palestrina, Santa Maria Maggiore and St John Lateran in Rome.
Palestrina published his first volume of music in 1554 and cannily it was dedicated to Pope Julius III. This led to Palestrina being appointed a singer in the Pope Julius’ private chapel which came with a significant pay rise.
Much of Palestrina’s music is still available today. These include over 100 masses, 60 offertories and 250 motets. In addition, there are hymns, psalms, magnificats, litanies, lamentations and madrigals.
He was probably the most celebrated musician in Rome during his lifetime. He was given the title of Master of Music at the Vatican Basilica while he was at his final job which was Master of the Boys for Capella Giulia, the choir who sang at services at the Vatican.
The video is the choir of Westminster Cathedral singing Sicut Cervus by Palestrina