In February 2008, the State Choir Latvija travelled to Ireland to participate in the festival Baltic Voices in Ireland organized by the Louth Contemporary Music Society. For the choir’s performance the festival commissioned Dubra to write his first piece in English, the extended hymn to the Mother of God Hail, Queen of Heaven
. The piece begins with a simple two-part chant for alto voices. The other voice parts enter weaving a wordless chorus around the chant with the sopranos creating a mystical halo to greet the ‘Queen of Heaven’. There follows more use of free rubato which extends the vocal canvas whilst the sopranos and basses sing a chant in parallel tenths. At the end of each verse, the last two lines form a kind of refrain and Dubra returns each time to the same resonant chords. For the passage ‘O gentle, chaste and spotless Maid’ the texture changes completely. Here Dubra wishes to capture the essence of medieval dance to reflect a naive, more theologically uneducated view of life. ‘Remind thy Son that He has paid / The price of our iniquity’ constitutes the most impassioned part of this hymn before returning again to the refrain. To conclude, Dubra returns to the opening two-part ‘Hail, Queen of Heaven’ motif and builds an ever-more colourful and complex soundscape until the final blazing chord of E major.
from notes by Rupert Gough © 2009