Schubert + Pavarotti =
When I began my series on the Doctors of the Universal Church, I posted a link to one of the greatest voices EVER singing one of the greatest songs EVER.
I hadn’t embedded the YouTube clip at the time, but after visiting Professio, I was inspired to do so. Professio is a blog dedicated to providing a Catholic perspective on art, and there is a series of postings featuring many artists (as diverse as Jewel and Bobby McFerrin) singing the “Ave Maria.”
After seeing that series, I’ve decided to post a couple of my favorite versions of the song myself, starting with the Pavarotti version.
Before we get to the clip, I’d like to provide just a little background information about the music and lyrics you’re going to hear.
- LYRICS – The words that Pavarotti is singing comprise the “Hail Mary” in Latin. “Ave Maria” means “Hail Mary”. The “Hail Mary”, of course, is a traditional prayer in honor of Mary and asking the Blessed Virgin to intercede for us with her Son. There are 3 parts to the prayer. The first two parts are taken from the biblical text (Lk 1:28 and Lk 1:42). The last part recognizes her special role in our salvation, asking for her to pray for us “now & at the hour of our death.”
- MUSIC – The music for this version of the “Ave Maria” was composed by Franz Schubert. However, Schubert did not compose the music as an accompaniment to the words of the prayer. In fact, the truth is completely opposite. Schubert’s music was to accompany a song in one of Sir Walter Scott’s epic poems. The opening words of Scott’s song were “Ave Maria”, but the rest wasn’t from the traditional prayer. The music was so beautiful, and the words “Ave Maria” were already there; so, naturally the two were put together. The rest, as they say, is history.
So, crank up the speakers; press the “Play” button; and enjoy some beautiful music; a beautiful song; and a beautiful prayer.