Regina Caeli Laetare

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The Marian antiphon traditionally sung at the conclusion of the hour of Compline during Paschaltide; since 1742, by decree of Benedict XIV, it has also been used to conclude the angelus during the same season. Its earliest appearance is as the Magnificant antiphon for the octave of Easter in a MS of the Local Roman chant tradition, dating from c. 1200 [text only in J. M. Thomasius, Opera Omnia, ed. A. F. Vezzosi (Rome 1749), 4]. Its use as a concluding antiphon for Compline dates from about the mid-13th century. Two melodic settings, both in mode VI, are given in current editions of the Roman chant books. The first and more elaborate of these is the one traditionally associated with the text (probably early 13th century); it differs entirely from the melody found in the MS of the local Roman tradition, the music of which seems to have been used only in Rome and its environs. The second, simpler setting emerged during the later decades of the 17th century and probably was composed by Henri Dumont.

Bibliography: w. b Äumker, Das Katholische deutsche Kirchenlied, v.2 (Freiburg 1883; repr. Hildesheim 1962). s. bÄumer, Histoire du bréviaire, tr. and rev. r. biron, 2 v. (Paris 1905). g. reese, Music in the Renaissance (New York 1959). g. reese, Music in the Middle Ages (New York 1940). j. mearns, j. julian, eds., A Dictionary of Hymnology (New York 1957) 2:954. f. l. harrison, Music in Medieval Britain (New York 1958). h. thurston. Familiar Prayers, ed. p. grosjean (Westminster, Md. 1953).

[r. j. snow]