Ave Regina caelorum
follows a genre typical of the middle Renaissance period and found in the work of, for example, Mouton and Willaert. This involves a free four-part texture, often scored for SATB, into the middle of which is inserted a three-voice canon. The canonic parts have relatively long notes and only sing periodically; and in this case all three maintain their own pitch levels (the root, fourth and fifth degrees) which gives the result a certain academic fascination. However, it is in the sonorities to which all these elements contribute that the expressive power of the piece lies.
from notes by Peter Phillips © 1994