Hyperion Records

Ave Maria, gemma virginum
author of text

'Mouton: Missa Tu es Petrus & other works' (CDA67933)
Mouton: Missa Tu es Petrus & other works
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67933  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Hyperion monthly sampler – June 2012' (HYP201206)
Hyperion monthly sampler – June 2012
HYP201206  Download-only monthly sampler   No longer available
Track 2 on CDA67933 [2'26]
Track 4 on HYP201206 [2'26] Download-only monthly sampler

Ave Maria, gemma virginum
Ave Maria, gemma virginum is a canon 8 ex 4 at two breves’ distance at the octave. (In the Parisian print of 1534 in which the motet appears, no indication of the canonic interval is given: it would therefore be technically possible to perform it as an eight-part unison canon, though this would create an extremely congested texture.) Perhaps because a canon at the unison is even more restricted than other intervals—the danger of repetitious harmony being ever-present—Ave Maria is only thirty-five breves in length, less than half the duration of Nesciens mater. Modally speaking it presents a relatively unusual case of a D-mode with B flat, corresponding more closely to the modern minor mode than is usual for so early a piece. The resulting plangent tone of supplication is highly suitable for the text, which pleads for Mary’s intercession at our time of death. As its title suggests, this motet is a miniature gem, which deserves to be better known.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2012

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