Missa Ave Regina caelorum
, written in eight parts for two equal SATB choirs, is a ‘parody’ mass based on Victoria’s two motet settings of Ave Regina caelorum
. In the sixteenth century and earlier it was a standard practice (which might well now be considered plagiarism, but was probably then considered a form of compliment) for a composer to take an existing motet or motets by another composer as a basis for creating a larger-scale work such as a mass by using, elaborating on and developing the material in the source(s) and combining this with new material to build a much larger musical structure. Sometimes, as in this case, a composer might use material drawn from his own works. Victoria used this technique to write two other double-choir masses on the basis of his own paired five- and eight-part antiphon settings (the Missa Alma redemptoris mater
and the Missa Salve Regina
). In the ‘Ave Regina’ mass the listener will hear throughout echoes of passages from each of the source motets and the plainsong on which they are based, together with much newly composed material, especially in the vigorous antiphonal exchanges between the two choirs in the two most wordy movements – the Gloria and the Credo.
from notes by Jon Dixon © 2004