for mixed choir and chamber ensemble


Free the sound – Hail Queen, mother of mercy!
Initially, I imagined the music expanding from the inside.


A kind of bright bubble of sound, extremely lively and dynamic, growing. That music was the first thing to come to me.


Then I started looking for a text. I searched and searched, but didn’t find what I was looking for. Eventually, I started composing anyway, without words, allowing the flow of the music to guide me.


From there I suddenly heard: “Salve!”


Salve Regina, a traditional eleventh century Latin hymn to the Virgin Mary found me. It struck me as incredibly beautiful. I also thought it was unexpectedly relevant with its text about children in exile, the vale of tears, and a desire for someone, someone endlessly merciful and good, to pray for us all.


The first section is an invocation, a bright, harmonious trilling appeal.
– Hail Queen, mother of mercy…


The second section is a lament, surrounded by vast spaces. The instruments embrace the voices with sparse, dark tones.
Later I also added a brief prelude the piece as a whole, a few phrases that anticipate the lament. It felt as if the bright, trilling address at the beginning required dark background in order to ring true.


The third and final section is a prayer. It rises up out of the depths and becomes an increasingly stronger cry:
– Pray for us, pray for us always, pray for our earth.



Salve Regina- Heavenly Queen was composed for the Netherlands Chamber Choir and Nieuw Ensemble, and commissioned by The Eduard van Beinum Stichting.
Karin Rehnqvist 3/5 2007

Translated by Linda Schenck



(lamenting) – Aya


Salve Regina, mater misericordiae:
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Evae.
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle.
Ora pro nobis
Ora pro nobis justera
Ora pro Terra nostra

(Hymn to the Virgin Mary, probably from the eleventh century. Last two lines added by Karin Rehnqvist)


English translation:

(Lamenting) – Aya


Hail Queen, Mother of mercy,
our life, our sweetness, and our hope, hail
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Pray for us
Pray for us always
Pray for our earth