Romanticism’s fascination with all things Celtic fuelled the cottage industry in German translations of the works of Sir Walter Scott; in fact, Mendelssohn’s setting of Ave Maria
from Scott’s long romance-poem The Lady of the Lake
(translated by Adam Storck) precedes Schubert’s famous Ellens Gesang III
D839 by five years. Schubert knew the context in Scott’s narrative, in which Roderick Dhu, chief of the Clan Alpine and hopelessly in love with Ellen Douglas, overhears her harp-accompanied song to the Virgin, but the eleven-year-old Felix channels Bach and Handel for his semi-sacred song, set over an octave-reinforced ‘walking bass’ throughout.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2010