Beatus Petronius and Statuit ei Dominus were commissioned in 1990 to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Basilica San Petronio, the principal church of Bologna. San Petronio is one of the few churches to be equipped with two church organs. Arvo Pärt thus wrote both pieces for two choirs and two organs. However, the pieces can be performed together or separately. The two pieces are written in contrasting styles, arranged as antiphonal songs.
Salve Regina, on the other hand, was commissioned by the Essen Cathedral Chapter to mark the 75th birthday of Bishop Dr Hubert Luthe. Salve Regina is written for choir and organ, and develops from a unison choral song into a polyphony of up to eight voices, accompanied by a quiet instrumental pulse. As in most of Pärt's works, the parameters of the text have a decisive influence on the structure of the composition. The rhythm of the Salve Regina text led Pärt to a sober 3/4 beat, elegant in its simplicity.
When Enzo Restagno invited Pärt to contribute to the MITO Festival celebrating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, Pärt suggested a combined performance of these three closely related festive works for choir and orchestra. He retained the well-defined structural proportions of Beatus Petronius and Statuit ei Dominus in the orchestral version, dividing both choir and orchestra each into two sections. The addition of a string orchestra on one side and a wind section on the other clearly emphasises the antiphonal character of both pieces.
The new version of Salve Regina for choir and orchestra moves the original organ part to the string orchestra. The only additional instrument is the celesta, which brings a bell-like tone.
pro nobis intercedat,
quo beato previo,
vero dato premio,
omnis pestis cedat.
Statuit ei Dominus
Statuit ei Dominus
et principem fecit eum;
ut sit illi
Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae;
vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Evae.
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
In hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, advocata nostra,
Illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et lesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
Nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria.