Victoria’s five-part setting of the Marian antiphon Regina Caeli Laetare (Queen of heaven rejoice) was first published in 1572 in Venice and then again by Gardane in 1576. It gets a lot of its material from the plainsong – which was chanted during compline. You can hear the chant particularly clearly in the second section the antiphon’s first part when Victoria quotes the plainsong melody directly at (‘Quia quem meruisti …’) which is immediately taken up in imitation by the bass.
Victoria uses the chant’s melody again at the start of the motet’s second part – all the voices join together at ‘Resurrexit …‘ in a close imitation that’s entrirely based upon the plainsong’s melody and again following an Alleluia at ‘Ora pro nobis Deum‘ where he uses it in a slightly adorned form. It’s one of my favourites amongst de Victoria’s Marian compositions, it flows beautifully the melody is beautifully worked and – somewhat unusually for a five-part piece it’s really rather sonorous. Enjoy :-).
Text, Translation, & Score: Regina Caeli Laetare
|Regina caeli laetare, Alleluia. |
Quia quem meruisti portare, Alleluia.
Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, Alleluia.
|Queen of heaven rejoice, Alleluia. |
Because you were worthy to bear him, Alleluia.
He has risen as he foretold, Alleluia.
Pray to God for us, Alleluia.