Alma Redemptoris Mater

Alma Redemptoris Mater
Composer: Henrique Coe
Concert: 03/April/2016
McMillan Theater (University of Toronto)
[Reverb added later]

Women’s Chamber Choir of the University of Toronto
Conductor: Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt

Program note:
The authorship of the hymn Alma Redemptoris Mater is credit to the Benedictine monk Blessed Hermann Contractus, who lived in the XIth century in Reichenau (Germany) and was beatified in 1863. For this composition, I started with the opening phrase of the solemn tone of the Gregorian chant of this hymn. Then, the choir enter and some unexpected, albeit agreeable harmonic progressions occur. The melodic contours and the harmonies are based on the text, reminding the technique of word painting.

I composed this piece as a composer resident in the Women’s Chamber Choir of the University of Toronto. It was premiered on the 3rd April 2016 in MacMillan Theatre at the University of Toronto, conducted by Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt.

Alma Redemptoris mater
Quae pervia caeli porta manes
Et Stella Maria
Succurre cadenti
Surgere qui curat populo
Tu quae genuisti
Natura mirante
Tuum sanctum Genitorem
Virgo prius, ac posterius
Gabrielis ab ore
Sumens illud Ave
Peccatorum miserere

English version (by Blessed John Henry Newman):
Kindly Mother of the Redeemer,
Who art ever of heaven the open gate,
And the star of the sea,
Aid a fallen people,
Which is trying to rise again;
Thou who didst give birth,
While Nature marvelled how,
To thy Holy Creator,
Virgin both before and after,
From Gabriel’s mouth
Accepting the All hail,
Be merciful towards sinners.