The text of the Ave Maria or the ‘Angelic Salutation’ as it is also called is based upon two passages in Luke the greeting by the Angel Gabriel (Luke 1: 28) and Elizabeth’s acclamation (Luke 1: 42). It’s use as a prayer goes back to the eleventh century when the first half of it was used but it wasn’t until 1568 that the full text was authorised to be included in the Breviary by Pope Pius V. It was removed from the Office in 1955. There are two settings attributed to Victoria. The first is the one for four voices which is the subject of this posting while the second is for eight voices. There’s some doubt as to whether or not it’s actually by Victoria this is because nobody’s ever been able to track down the manuscript or printed source upon which Monseigneur Proske who first published it in Musica Divina based it. Nancho Álvarez thinks that Proske’s amanuensis who completed the edition after Proske’s death is the person who (mistakenly) attributed this Ave Maria to Victoria. He also makes the entirely reasonable point that ‘It has aesthetic features that are not in Victoria’s style.’ and that are indeed more appropriate to the Baroque era.
All-in-all I’m inclined to agree with Álvarez that it’s a misattribution and am including it early on in this series partly to forestall questions about why I’ve omitted such a well known and well-loved staple of the repertoire, and partly because no matter who composed it it’s a very beautiful piece of homophonic music. It’s sung below by the Choir of Westminster Cathedral conducted by Martin Baker. Enjoy :-).
Text & Translation: Ave Maria
|Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. |
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus Christus.
Sancta Maria, mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
|Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. |
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and in the hour of our death. Amen.
A copy of the score (PDF and Lilypond formats) can be found here: partituras de Tomas Luis de Victoria