The extraordinary conflation of texts in this setting may have something to do with the Venetians’ perception of their city. Venice, Europe’s gateway to the East, saw itself as being under the special protection of the Virgin Mary. In St Jerome’s commentary on Ezechiel 44:2, Ezechiel’s description of the eastern gate of the temple, through which the Lord God had entered, is interpreted as prophesying the entrance of Christ into the world through Mary, who is thus described in ‘Audi coelum’ as ‘portal of the East … this sacred and joyful portal through which death was expelled and life renewed’. It may be no coincidence, then, that the first words taken from the ‘Salve Regina’ are heard immediately after the words ‘porta orientalis’ in the ‘Audi coelum’ text.
from notes by John Whenham © 2005