Salve Regina: travels with my chant
A live online talk for the Southern Early Music Forum. Advance booking essential via http://www.semf.org.uk/. Minimum charge is £5.
The Salve Regina is perhaps the most important Marian hymn in the Catholic church, to be sung daily through the summer months. During the late medieval period, as devotion to the mother of Jesus became increasingly popular, the market for polyphonic settings of the Salve Regina grew strongly, leading to a large number of beautiful and increasingly inventive compositions.
The solemn tone chant melody is a gift for musicians: it opens with one of the most striking gestures in the whole repertoire: a four note motto for the salutation ’Salve’, ripe for development. And the chant closes with rapturous arcs of melisma for the epithets: ‘O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria’.
Join me on this evening in May — traditionally the ‘month of Mary’ — as I trace the ways in which 16th century composers were inspired to quote, embed and elaborate upon the Salve Regina chant in ever more inventive polyphonic settings.
I will also examine when and where these settings might have been sung, and who was funding the composition and performance of settings of this hymn to Jesus’s mother.
A range of Salve Regina settings will be introduced, spanning a century or more from Okeghem to Victoria.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end.