Use: Advent, Christmas, Marian
Required Resources: SATB choir, organ, flute, oboe
One of four Marian antiphons is traditionally sung as the conclusion of Compline (Night Prayer).
- Alma Redmptoris Mater — for Advent and Christmastide (sometimes extended to Feb.2)
- Ave Regina cælorum — for Lent
- Regina cœli lætare — for Eastertide
- Salve Regina — for Ordinary Time
These are often sung in their chant settings, but composers from Palestrina to the present day have set them for SATB choirs to sing.
Stephen McManus uses the traditional Latin text for this classic motet.
It is organized over an eight-measure ground (a repeated pattern in the bass).
The organ pedal begins, with the voices gradually entering: A, S, T, B.
Two treble instruments add color to the full ensemble.
The composer indicates flute and oboe, but the range and characteristics would allow almost any treble instruments to participate (violins, recorders, transposed clarinet).
The texture alternates between polyphonic and homophonic.
Vocal and instrumental parts are not difficult.
Alma Redemptoris Mater would make a fitting choral close to an Advent Penitential Service, or Advent Evening Prayer or Night Prayer.
Its minor mode might also suit well for a prelude to Midnight Mass on Christmas.