The Ave Maria, or Hail Mary, is a traditional prayer used in Western and Eastern Christianity, asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary. It’s one of the best-known Latin texts, has been set to music countless times, and occupies an important place both in music and religion. You’ve probably heard Schubert’s setting, or the almost-as-famous Bach/Gounod one… but there are some less-traditional and equally-interesting musical settings of Ave Maria as well. Here are a few of the well-known and lesser-known ones.
1. Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria is arguably the most famous, having been used in everything from weddings to the 1940 Disney film Fantasia.
2. Then there’s Gounod’s melody used with Bach’s first prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier. Here’s Maria Callas singing it.
3. The Soweto Gospel Choir’s take on a familiar melody is as exuberant as you’d expect.
4. Of all the instruments you’d expect to hear with Ave Maria, a digeridoo doesn’t immediately come to mind.
5. A familiar arrangement in an unexpected place: in the middle of public transport.