The text ‘Ave Maria’, has inspired composers throughout the ages. The two most well known classical settings were by Franz Schubert and the Bach/Gounod arrangement.

Here is the Schubert setting sung by Maria Callas:

And here is the Bach/Gounod ‘Ave Maria’ sung by Luciano Pavarotti and the Wandsworth School Boys Choir:

Contemporary composers have also embraced the ‘Ave Maria’ as the basis for composition. Perhaps the most well known is by Morten Lauridsen. It has a rich, warm, lush texture, tonally different from past musical eras. Here it is sung by the Luther College Nordic Choir:

For the sake of comparison of his style, listen to the aural texture of his ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ sung by Voces8:

Next, consider another contemporary version that is a little quieter and more personal. Written by Guy Forbes, it is sung here by the MMEA All-State Women’s Choir:

Then, we have a version composed by Cecilia McDowall. This is a quieter style with a spare sound and with dissonances and unusual intervals providing a nice contrast to the Lauridsen. It is sung by the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Women’s Concert Chorale:

I found this obscure little gem.sung by the Utah State University Chamber Singers. Unfortunately I could not identify the composer:

Finally, the following ‘Ave Maria’, I had mixed feelings about. At first it seemed to be saying nothing, but it became like opening a Christmas present – as the wrappings were removed, inside was subtle beauty. Here is the ‘Ave Maria’ by Kevin Memley, sung by an unidentified choir:


I started a blog in 2011 called The POOG, an acronym for "pissed off old guy". This is the current incarnation.


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