As a Catholic, part of my childhood was spent memorizing and learning to recite a handful of important prayers. The text that has stuck with me the most is “Hail Holy Queen,” or “Salve Regina” in Latin. I have always been drawn to the striking imagery of the prayer, capable of stirring feelings of joy, sadness, fright, peace, and hope. Like many prayers, Salve Regina is divided into two parts: an exclamation of praise and glorification, and a humble petition. I allowed this inherent division to influence the form of the work, the first stanza set to the most dramatic writing, and the second cast in a more serene mood of supplication. While composing, I thought of this prayer’s special place at the conclusion of the Rosary, which is not merely a long series of prayers but also a meditation on various Divine “mysteries” (Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous, and Glorious).
Salve Regina won the 2015 Inter-American Music Award, a prize given every three years through competition by Sigma Alpha Iota international music fraternity. The score is published by Edition Peters.
Text and Translation
Salve, Regina, mater misericordiæ,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
ad te clamamus exsules filii Evæ,
ad te suspiramus,
gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra,
Illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
Nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O Clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs,
morning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us;
And after this our exile,
Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.