Ave Regina Caelorum in English
  • PeterG
    Posts: 36
    Can anyone recommend a good English translation of the Ave Regina that can be sung to the traditional chant melody?
    Our parish, dedicated to Our Lady, is building up a tradition of singing the seasonal Marian antiphons after Sunday masses.
    I would like to be able to enable the people to sing this beautiful piece (which won't happen if they only hear it sung by the choir in Latin) and would much prefer not to sing it to a metrical hymn tune.
    Any suggested translations would be much appreciated.
    Peter G
  • donr
    Posts: 949
    Peter, I must disagree with you slightly on that people will not sing the Marian Antiphon in Latin. Our parish is also dedicated to our Lady. We sing the Marian Antiphon as a Meditation Hymn after communion every Sunday.
    The people sing Salve Regina and Regina Ceali with gusto. Alma Redemptoris and Ave Regina Cealorum not so much, but as the years progress the congregation is singing them even though they have no lyric sheet and it is certainly not in the OCP music books.

    The longer you do the music the more and more comfortable the congregation will get with it. This year we also did the Alma Redemptoris Mater by Palestrina.
    It was the first time the congregation heard something so beautiful and I heard heard things like "it gave me goose bumps" and "I got shivers".
    Whenever I introduce a piece of music, especially Latin music or period music, I always try to explain what we will be doing so the congregation is prepared.
    I tell them we are doing a Latin piece and I tell them the translation, the period of the piece and who wrote it. I actually get more grief from my armature choir until the piece comes together and actually starts to sound beautiful.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,203
    The simple melodies are so short I think it's best to do both: our congregation sings "Regina caeli" followed immediately by "O Queen of heaven" during Eastertide, both equally well. Maybe they'd feel the same ownership if it were Latin only (I'm not quite sure) but it does coat the pill. We do about half and half for Ordinary settings as well.

    To try answering the request, By Flowing Waters has a "We greet you, Mary, heaven's queen" (659 in the 1999 printing) with very generous terms for congregational aids. Something PD would be nice of course, and I'm enjoy hearing about any other competing versions.
  • PeterG
    Posts: 36
    Thank you Richard for suggesting By Flowing Waters #659. It looks a very feasible solution and I will check it out properly in the morning. I'll be glad to see and compare any other similar versions that forum members may come up with.
    Responding to DonR's points, our congregation will sing these antiphons in English after listening to the Latin sung first by choir or cantor. Maybe they will start joining in the Latin too when each antiphon comes up in a second and subsequent years.
    Regina Caeli in both languages was very well received in Eastertide, engendering a palpably prayerful post-Communion atmosphere (commended by the Parish Priest). Since then we have sung Salve Regina in both languages and more recently Alma redemptoris mater in Latin only.
    Finally DonR, when you speak of explaining such pieces to the congregation, how do you do this? By getting on the microphone before Mass or by pew bulletin?
    Many thanks for your assistance, forum friends. Further suggestions will be most welcome.
    PeterG
  • Heath
    Posts: 869
    MHI had posted some settings here, but they seem to have disappeared . . . PM him, perhaps?

    http://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/7958/seasonal-marian-antiphons-in-english/p1
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,203
    That would be interesting to see. The top of the thread has links for Fr. Columba Kelly's versions, for which the the host has moved. Making the substitution I get http://www.kleingraduale.nl/LiturgiaHorarum/images/HailOQueen.png &c.
  • donr
    Posts: 949
    PeterG, I get up in the front of the congregation before Mass starts and explain what it is that they will be hearing. I find it really helps in the congregations understanding of the piece and why I chose it for this particular Sunday. Obviously, I will not repeat myself if we do it several Sundays in a row like the Marian Antiphon.
  • The four votive antiphons of our Lady may be found in English to the Gregorian melodies at page 491 in St Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter, published by the Lancelot Andrewes Press. Each is followed by the traditional collect associated with its antiphon.

    This book is a complete psalter, Miles Coverdale translation, with each psalm pointed for one of the Gregorian psalm tones. A must for anyone's library... even for one's entire choir... maybe even in the pews!
  • All of the Marian Antiphons are given in both Latin and English in the St. Pius X hymnal, the American one in the 1950s.
  • Can these English versions in the 1950 St Pius X Hymnal be sung? My experience with Catholic translations is that they are just that: they are translations all right, but they cannot be sung and were not intended to be. (I'm not being snide - this is an honest question.)
  • Heath
    Posts: 869
    I just found all the Marian antiphons with singing English translations in the back of the By Flowing Waters resource.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    PeterG, I get up in the front of the congregation before Mass starts and explain what it is that they will be hearing. I find it really helps in the congregations understanding of the piece and why I chose it for this particular Sunday.

    I have an article up at the Chant Cafe about this very tactic, and the commentary strongly augers against this practice.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Yes, they are actually transliterations for performance. Most of the them were prepared by Ted Marier, with a nod to Canon Winfred Douglas (his are in the old style English lanuage). To answer this sincere question:
    Can these English versions in the 1950 St Pius X Hymnal be sung? My experience with Catholic translations is that they are just that: they are translations all right, but they cannot be sung and were not intended to be. (I'm not being snide - this is an honest question.)