Salve Regina

Jacob Obrecht

edited:Edward Wickham

  Cat. 0072    

  Genre: Votive Antiphon - Motet  
  Liturgical Use: Season of Trinity  
  Vocal Disposition: SSATTB

  Price: £2.75  

Of his three settings of the Salve Regina text, for three, four and six voices, this last version is surely the most elaborate.  Indeed, in its scale (lasting over ten minutes) and breadth of expression, it is one of the most ambitious motets of the fifteenth century.  Obrecht adopts an “alternatim” approach to the text here in which chant and polyphonic verses alternate, and the familiar Salve regina chant is ubiquitous within the polyphony itself: the chant is particularly noticeable in the top voice and the (first) tenor, the latter’s material being closely linked to the former.


This edition is based on the reading given in the manuscript Munich Bayerische Staatsbibliothek MS 34 (f. 43’-49), part of the Burgundian Court complex of manuscripts dating from the early decades of the 16th century.  Because of its clarity and accuracy it has been preferred to the other surviving source, Regensburg B C98. A critical commentary is provided in the edition.

Many versions of the Salve regina chant, transmitting small variants, are known to have existed in the early Renaissance period, and it is not possible to identify exactly which one Obrecht was familiar with.  The chant supplied in this edition, therefore, represents a reconstruction based on known versions of the Salve regina and on inferences made from Obrecht’s only through-composed Salve regina setting, for three voices.

Text and Translation

Salve regina misericordiae: vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exules, filii Hevae.
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 exilium ostende.
O clemens: O pia: O dulcis Virgo Maria.
Hail, O queen of mercy: our life, our sweetness and our hope, hail.
To you we cry, banished children of Eve.
To you we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Therefore turn, you our advocate, your merciful eyes towards us.
And after this our exile, show to us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement: O loving: O sweet Virgin Mary.

Editorial Procedures and Conventions

Clefs and signatures: The original clefs and signatures are indicated in the prefatory staves.
Note values and barring:
Note values have been halved.
Transposition: The pitch is unaltered
Voice designations and ranges:
The editorís voice designations are given after the prefatory staves. The ranges of each part are indicated at the pitch of the modern edition.
Accidentals given in the source are shown within the stave.
Accidentals which are implied by the rules of musica ficta are provided editorially above the notes.
Text and Underlay: Text underlay given explicitly in the source is shown in a normal typeface. Editorial interpolations are shown in an italic font. Latin spelling and punctuation have been standardised.
Variants: A list of variants between the seven sources is provided in the edition.

Click here to see low resolution versions of the first page:

Click here to hear a midi file of the opening of the SSAATB version