ANY GREAT COMPOSERS have set the “Salve Regina.” The version by Tomás Luis de Victoria (d. 1611) is among the finest. In the following excerpt—recorded on YouTube by an excellent group called Genesis Sixteen—consider his gorgeous treatment of the Latin text:
Ad te suspirámus, geméntes et flentes in hac lacrimárum valle.
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Victoria uses typical Renaissance “tricks.” For tears, the lugubrious flats are added. Moreover, the mournful descending lines in each voice—one after another—bring home the “sad valley” concept. Sing each “lacrimárum valle” as the music plays:
It just doesn’t get any better than this, folks!