Ave Regina caelorum (Dufay)
On the threshold of the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance, Dufay wrote his Marian Antiphon Ave Regina caelorum for one alto and two tenor parts. To make this three-part composition for mixed choir performable in our time, I have made a few delicate alterations in my edition (transposition, voice exchange), that don’t damage Dufay’s masterpiece.
This relatively short and homophonic piece for choir shows Dufay’s tonal language (at that time very modern!) in an impressionable way which doesn’t voice in the manner of organa and refrains from using isorhythmic-polyphonic elements. Instead, Dufay establishes the triad – and therewith a vertical way of thinking – as the most important element in music. The antiphon gets its Middle Age charm by using double leading tone cadences, something that is perceived as slightly harsh by our ears today.