The Salve regina
is a setting of one of the most popular texts in honour of the Virgin. Byrd had already produced a more extended setting (published in 1591) but this later composition is more succinct and chamber-like. It contains some typical traits, like the downward semitones for ‘gementes et flentes’ (‘groaning and weeping’), but is on a much smaller canvas than the earlier version.
from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2009