March 18, 2013

Ave Maria

Gratia Plena

Ave Maria, the Latin text of the Hail Mary, has been set to music numerous times and by many of the world's most famous composers including Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Brahms, Rossini, and Gounod. The first half of the prayer is composed of the Angel Gabriel's salutation and St. Elizabeth's Divinely inspired  greeting from Luke 1, with the names of Mary and Jesus added for clarity during the Middle Ages; while the second half (the petition) followed later. The first complete text of the prayer did not appear in print until 1495, when it was published in Girolamo Savonarola's "Esposizione sopra l’Ave Maria." There are many settings of the Latin text in Gregorian Chant. Among the most widely used is the Mode I version, as sung in the following video. In the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ave Maria is used during Wednesday Evening Prayer.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum
benedicta tu in mulieribus
et benedictus fructus ventris tuis, Jesu

Sancta Maria, Mater dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

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