In a new summer series, OLMC music director and music professor, Ms. Andrea Covais explores the rich tradition of sacred music. Each week we will feature a new song that will be sung during that weekend’s Masses at communion. We hope these short pieces enrich and deepen your spiritual journey during these times.
Ms. Andrea Covais, OLMC Music Director
There are many musical settings of the “Ave Maria”. Among the most famous are those by Franz Schubert, J.S Bach with a melody by Charles Gounod and one by Pietro Mascagni based on the “Intermezzo” from the opera Cavalleria Rusticana.
One setting that is also based on an instrumental work from an opera is the “Ave Maria” of French composer Jules Massenet (1842-1912) based on the Meditation from his opera Thaïs. Massenet was known in his lifetime for his operatic works such as Manon and Werther, but also wrote a few large works based on Catholic figures like the oratorios Marie Magdeleine and Ève and La Vierge, a large scale work based on the life of the Virgin Mary.
France, with its long history of Catholicism found a renewed passion for the Virgin Mary during the nineteenth-century. Several apparitions took place during those years, including Lourdes, and quite a great deal of music and literature were written based upon Her life. Massenet himself was Catholic and was deeply moved by the story of our Lady.
The text of this weekend’s “Ave Maria” is the Hail Mary prayer. We hope you will enjoy this beautiful piece, perfect for this weekend’s Feast of the Assumption.