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Ave Maria

WAB6; 1861; 7vv
author of text
Antiphon for the Blessed Virgin Mary

The setting of Ave Maria heard here is the second of two for choir. (A third version for solo voice and piano, organ or harmonium also survives.) Bruckner uses the form of the Ave Maria that was approved by Pius V in 1568: two extracts from St Luke’s Gospel combined with a prayer. Unusually, however, he draws attention to ‘Jesus’, a word not included by all composers, presenting it in three increasingly powerful statements that suggest the growing presence of Christ in Mary’s womb. With the exception of the trebles, all the vocal parts subdivide, sometimes more than once. It is not clear why the top part alone remains undivided. Was this a reflection of the make-up of the choir that gave the first performance in 1861 in Linz’s Old Cathedral? (During the nineteenth century many Austrian churches restricted the participation of women in services, leading to a general shortage of female voices.) Or did Bruckner intend the unassuming treble part to represent Mary herself? Initially, the music is homophonic, with typically Brucknerian blocks of sound surely inspired by Venetian cori spezzati (divided choirs). It is only at the start of the prayer section (‘Sancta Maria’) that the composer moves into imitative mode, with hints of a canon on the words ‘ora pro nobis’. The motet ends with a simple Amen, set in the traditional way as a plagal cadence.

from notes by Martin Ennis © 2020


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Studio Master: SIGCD430Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Bruckner: Mass & Motets
CDA67629Archive Service
Bruckner: Mass in E minor & motets
Studio Master: KGS0035-DDownload onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Bruckner: Motets
Hail! Queen of Heaven
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Naked Byrd, Vol. 1
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Track 1 on CDA67629 [4'06] Archive Service
Track 4 on CDA66062 [4'00]
Track 8 on CSCD508 [3'10] Download only
Track 9 on SIGCD180 [3'58] Download only
Track 12 on SIGCD430 [4'07] Download only
Track 11 on KGS0035-D [3'05] Download only

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