HAVE KNOWN Richard Clark since 2012, and I’m glad to call him a friend. He’s a fine musician—keyboardist, composer, conductor—a participant in a variety of musical worlds, a family man, a faithful Catholic, and a great guy to hang out with. Just the other day he posted on YouTube a recording of his Salve Regina (score available on his website here), and I wanted to comment on it briefly.
It begins quietly in G minor, phrase after phrase opening in understated lines that rise in the soprano and descend in the bass. Through gently shifting tonalities, we find ourselves at a reprise of the opening music a third higher; the dynamics swell and the soprano’s high A-flat appeals to Our Lady, that she may turn her eyes upon us. At the holy name of Jesus, the choir hovers peacefully on a B-flat Major chord, expressing our serene confidence in the Lord. The piece remains now in a major key, exuberantly proclaiming the attributes of our merciful, sweet, and loving Mother. The harmonies are contemporary but not strident, the lines always singable; while not exactly an easy piece, it should be approachable for solid choral ensembles, and rewarding for them as well.
Thanks, Richard, for another accessible and mellifluous motet!