Salve Regina

  • Composer: Ramona Luengen 
  • Publisher: Cypress Choral Music
  • Cat No: CP 1010
  • Canadian Composition: Yes
  • Duration: 6:08
  • Sample Track:

Conductor Notes:

Vancouver composer, pianist and choral conductor Ramona Luengen was a singer in Elektra Women’s Choir’s first decade and wrote Salve Regina for the choir’s very first concert in 1987. Originally scored for SSAA (divisi) a cappella and flute obbligato, this piece has been performed dozens of times since by Elektra and other choirs with a soprano soloist taking the flute part as a vocalise (as is the recorded excerpt here.) Ramona Luengen’s compositional trademarks are flowing melodies, mixed meters to accommodate word-stress and expression, well-crafted interplay between the vocal parts, and an overall sense of flexibility and grace. There is much room in this piece to shape phrases with dynamics and tempi as the poem describes the attributes of Mary and then cries to her for intercession and compassion. Frequent key changes provide lots of challenges. Although I have heard of children’s choirs successfully performing Luengen’s Salve Regina, its frequent divisi into eight parts and low tessitura of the Alto 2 part must make it a challenge for that age group. Even your adult altos may find it tiring in an extended rehearsal, but rewarding in concert. One note on the performance you will hear here – if I had it all to do over again, I would teach and perform the piece faster than on this recording. If performed too slowly, it tends to bog down and stay that way!

Composer / Arranger Notes:

1987: I was thrilled when the invitation came to be a singer in the newly emerging women’s choir, Elektra, and to compose a work for the inaugural concert. I wanted to write a piece which would respect and highlight the beauty and unique timbre of each divisi part. Thus, even within the rather thick and luxurious harmonies, the intergity of individual lines remains imperative, as does a sense of musical fluidity. A soprano/flute solo was included to increase texture and interest. Although initially performed by a flautist at that first concert, the solo has subsequently been more often performed by a singer.

References:

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Text:

Salve Regina, mater misericordiae; vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus, exules filii Evae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle. Eia ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exilium ostende. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria.

Translation:

Hail, O Queen, Mother of mercy; Our life, our sweetness, and our hope: hail! To thee we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee we send up our sighs, Groaning and weeping in this valley of tears. Hasten therefore, our Advocate, And turn your merciful eyes toward us. And show us Jesus, the blessed fruit of your womb, after this exile. O merciful, O pious, O sweet Virgin Mary.