The Ave Regína Cælórum is an ancient Marian prayer of the Catholic Church, one of four Marian antiphons. The text can be translated as:
Hail, O Queen of Heaven enthroned.
Hail, by angels mistress owned.
Root of Jesse, Gate of Morn
Whence the world's true light was born.
Each chorus is mainly homophonic, with both choruses interweaving smoothly in simple counterpoint. The result is a lush field of 8-part harmony over a substratum of quintuplets played by the piano. The harmonic language is tonal, triadic, and major.
This version of Ave Regína Cælórum was performed by the Vittoria Ensemble of Denver, Colorado as part of their 2012 Colorado Composers Showcase.
It's interesting how this piece came to be — I began, as I often do, by composing the piano part. Afterward, it seemed à propos to add a very thick-textured, homophonic eight-voice choir, and I began looking for a text that could fit. The Ave Regína Cælórum seemed perfect — it fit rhythmically, and I love texts that honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, I never composed the eight-voice arrangement I'd envisioned. Instead, I created a two-part children's choir setting first (see other listing). Later, when the Vittoria Ensemble showed interest in my work, I took the existing two-part arrangement and expanded each voice into its own four-part choir, which ironically made for a more interesting piece than I had thought of initially.