Ave Maria – Wedding Favorite

By | February 14, 2023

Hail Mary! – so many versions

Still on the theme of weddings – well it is always a popular choice, we explore a little about this ancient prayer.

Statue of Mary praying

Origins

Ave Maria or Hail Mary! is an iconic Roman Catholic prayer addressing the Virgin Mary. The prayer in its original state has been known since 6th century. Originally spoken or chanted the prayer has been added to and amended over time, taking on its present form around 1568.

Words

English

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now,
and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Latin

Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc,
et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Ave Maria Gregorian Chant

Ave Maria Versions

Many composers have set Ave Maria to music over hundreds of years. Here are some that are featured on music-scores below:

Schubert

Latin Voice, Piano, Bb ma

One of the most famous and beloved settings of the prayer. It is originally a lied (art song) titled “Ellens dritter Gesang” (Ellen’s Third Song), composed in 1825 as part of his song cycle “Op. 52, D. 839.” The text is a German translation of the “Ave Maria” prayer from Walter Scott’s poem “The Lady of the Lake.” The lyrical and flowing melody is what characterises this version.

Gounod

Cello – Gounod so admired Bach as a composer that he wrote this beautiful melody above the 1st Prelude Book 1 (below). As a result it is a harmonically rich and expressive piece, with Bach’s music providing a sublime backdrop to the prayer’s text.

Bach

Well Tempered Clavier, Book 1 01a Prelude I – well known for being the accompaniment to Ave Maria by Gounod (above)

Mozart

K554 Brass Quartet – Mozart’s composition on the prayer, arranged here for 2 trumpets and 2 trombones

Caccini

Voice and Baritone Sax – a duo for Voice and Baritone Saxophone using its full range. Caccini was an accomplished singer so it’s perhaps unsurprising that he chose to put this to music. The simplicity and purity of melody make this version more gentle than others.

Brosig

Brass Quartet – Brosig’s composition again for brass quartet

Many other composers have set Ave Maria to music over the years including Despr├ęs, Palestrina, Liszt, Mascagni and Brahms to name but a few.

Further Reading

You can discover more about Hail Mary! and the music it has been set to on Wikipedia

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