The Salve regina
is the antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary which is sung from first vespers on Trinity Sunday to the Saturday before the first Sunday in Advent. Of the four settings of it which Victoria wrote, the most impressive and extended is the double-choir setting first published in the Gardane edition of 1576 and later reissued in 1600 in Madrid. The work is divided into seven separate sections and makes full use of contrasts between a choir of high voices and one of lower voices, and between reduced-voice fugal sections of great intensity and passages of staggering grandeur when the full resources of both choirs are used to create imposing sonorities and a sense of sublime serenity. This work must surely be accounted one of the greatest achievements of any composer in the era of polyphonic music.
from notes by Jon Dixon © 1994