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Ave regina caelorum

composed to replace a lost part of Howells's Four Anthems to the Blessed Virgin Mary
author of text
Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the Feast of the Purification until the Wednesday in Holy Week

In October 2016 I invited David Bednall, who describes Howells’s music as a particularly strong and enduring influence on his own, to compose settings of the other two Marian antiphon texts—Alma redemptoris mater and Ave regina caelorum—which had been included in Howells’s set of Four Anthems for Westminster Cathedral. Bednall conceived his responses not as pastiche but as inhabiting a ‘similar sound world’ to Howells’s settings, while also engaging with features of other and earlier repertoire. Ave regina caelorum—like Howells’s Regina caeli—is bound together by the reappearances of material, the most important in this case being the celebratory opening acclamation, which recurs periodically, both to the opening words and to set ‘Gaude Virgo gloriosa’. These chordal fanfares act as pillars of the structure, alternating with sections of energetic melismatic and contrapuntal writing. Gabriel’s word of salutation to Mary, ‘Ave’, is ecstatically repeated by a solo soprano in what the composer describes as the central ‘oasis’ of this motet.

from notes by Owen Rees © 2018


Howells: The house of the mind & other choral works
Studio Master: SIGCD491Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 15 on SIGCD491 [4'20] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD491 track 15

Recording date
11 January 2017
Recording venue
Church of St Michael and All Angels, Oxford, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. Howells: The house of the mind & other choral works (SIGCD491)
    Disc 1 Track 15
    Release date: June 2018
    Download only
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