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Religious themes: Songs of Mary

Here is a compilation of suggested works for my query on repertoire for a "Songs of
Mary" program. Thanks to all for the wonderful suggestions. Please excuse the
inexpert cut and pasting in advance.

Patricia Corbin
Director of Choral Activities
Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville, AL

Let Me Be Like Mary - Ken Berg

Take a look at Frank Ferko's Marian motets, Mozart's "Sancta Maria", and any
of the hundreds of settings of Ave Maria. There are many of these; one of my
favorites for treble voices is Kodaly's setting. There are a number of
other often-set Marian texts including "Regina coeli," "Salve Regina," "Ave
Maris Stella," "Ave Regina coelorum," "Dixit Maria," "Assumpta est Maria,"
"Alma Redemptoris Mater," "Stabat Mater," etc. You can get some titles from
the index in the back of Ron Jeffers' fabulously useful book of Latin texts
and translations, published by earthsongs.

How about the Victoria setting of Ave Maria?

Mozart's "Regina Coeli, K. 276" (Queen of Heaven) would be very
appropriate. It is a one movement work, about 5 minutes and uses
chorus and solo quartet.

There are several "contemporary" settings of Marian hymns and anthems
published with Oregon Catholic Press and GIA in Chicago.

Maybe my favorite Marian setting of all is Poulenc's Salve Regina, conducted
it on my master's recital, very beautiful, very Poulenc.

Some things to consider:

Benjamon Britten: Hymn to the Virgin
Mark Lowry: Mary, Did You Know? (e.g. arr. Fred Bock)
John Tavener: A Christmas Round/Today the Virgin
any: Cherry Tree Carol (e.g. arr. David Willcocks)
any: Ave Maria (if you haven't looked at the setting
by Javier Busto, do so.)
René Clausen: Sweet Was the Song
Gary Garcia: There is No Rose
Paul Hillier: There is No Rose
Noah Greenberg: E la Don Don
Francisco Guerrero: Ave Virgo Sanctissima
Herbert Howells: A Spotless Rose
take your pick: Regina Coeli
take your pick: Alma Redemptoris Mater (e.g. Palestrina, Victoria)
Lloyd Pfautsch: Mary, Mary
John Rutter: Mary's Lullaby

You might like to look at 'When Mary thro' the garden went' by Charles
Villiers Stanford. It is a typically wonderful motet set to a text by
M.E.Coleridge (Mary, I think). It's also available free to download and
copy from CPDL ( or (
). It's an unaccompanied motet and a personal
favourite of mine.

I have written and published "I Wonder As I Gaze at Starry Skies", which
is an SATB ballad/spiritual and was in fact written for a specific concert
of black and white spirituals. The lyrics don't specifically mention the
Anunciation, but "Sister Mary" is referred to, as well as her feelings and
the general events surrounding the birth of Jesus. It is published by Jackman
Music Corp., is SATB w/soprano solo, and runs about 4-5 minutes.

Ann Kapp Andersen

John Rutter: Mary's Lullaby

Frank Ferko: Motet for Mary, Mother of God
and Motet for the Annunciation

Tavener - Two Hymns to the Mother of God
here is a Tavener Annunciation that is absolutely spectacular.
My ears and head are slow now, and I don't know much music theory at all,
so I can't tell you exactly how it works (among other things, my memory is
missing the key parts of the angel's announcement to Mary), but there is
a solo quartet (which clearly could be a larger group, since it is mixed
voices) that is the voice of Mary, which has the refrain "How can it be,
seeing that I know not a man?" and the men's voices of the chorus sing "Hail,
hail, hail, hail, hail" on tightly harmonized, slightly descending chords.
I really felt, on hearing it, that Tavener had come very close to pulling
off a rendition of a heavenly chorus. It may not be suitable for your resourcesat
all, but I urge you to try to find it and look at the score

Look at The Blessings of Mary by Mack Wilberg. It might not be in the
correct vein, but it is a really nice piece.

1)Giuseppe Verdi, Ave Maria (from "Quattro Pezzi Sacri"), 6 minutes
2)Pietro Mascagni, "Inno di Pasqua" (Preghiera) from Cavalleria Rusticana, 6
min 30 (you need a solo soprano or mezzo for a short piece here)
3)Sergei Rachmaninov "Ave Maria" from "Vespri" 3 minutes
5)Edgard Elgar, Ave Maria (Op 2, nr 2) 3 minutes

I remembera also a motetto "Ave Maria" by Palestrina, but don't remember how
long that is exactly.

Have you looked at the "Songs of Mary" by Brahms?

Although there are probably scads of music related to
the Virgin Mary, my top choice would be Benjamin
Britten's "A Hymn to the Virgin." It's a beautiful
setting for SATB chorus and SATB solo quartet (and
neither part is terribly difficult).

I am a composer of many choral works. I have written a composition call called "As
Jesus Born in Mary's Womb". It is for SATB chorus and organ. If this piece
internest you, please respond and I will send you a complimentary copy. The
duration of the piece is about 4 minuets.

Thank you.

Denice Rippentrop

SAVAE, the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble has published some of their
arrangements through World Library Publications. If you're not familiar
with them, take a quick look and listen at their website ( I've
used a couple of their Marian pieces. Most are scored for intermediate SATB
(a bit easier if you don't try the Mesoamerican pronunciations) and an
assortment of hand percussion and indigenous wind instruments. My choirs
have loved them.

Have you looked at the Randall Stroope Magnificat....beautiful!

You should definitely do a piece called "The Cherry Tree" ... It's evidently
a traditional English carol. Anonymous4 recorded it on their Wolcum Yule

In my website you can download free
my Ave Maria

Giuseppe Mignemi
via G. Grasso, 20
95013 Fiumefreddo di Sicilia (CT) - Italy

I have an arrangement of *The Angel Gabriel* for SATB, Mz & T soli &
hp/pno (also for SSAA, S solo & hp/piano) that may be of interest.

Also a setting of the "Deutsche Magnificat" a/k/a "Tonus Peregrinus"
(solo/SATB alternatim; separate German & English versions)

Other things:

Reger (arr. yours truly): *The Virgin's Slumber Song* (available SATB,
SSA(A), SAB or 2-pt w/ fl, hp/pno; opt strings [playable 1 on a part] from

Hovhaness: *Ave Maria* SSAA w/hp; opt 2 ob, 2 hn (G. Schirmer)

How about Benjamin Britten's "A Hymn to the Virgin?" It is a beautiful piece

I beheld her, beautiful as a dove by Healey Willan

I have three Mary pieces: and Ave Maria which just won 1st Prize in
the Jihlava (CZ) International Composer's competition, the second is
Mary Had a Baby,

Alleluia! - a Christmas piece.

Both are Lively.

The third is is piece from a Trobadora text "Na Maria" by Bieris de
Romans which is Spanish/Moorish in style, for Soprano Solo and Viola
and hand held percussion (which the chorus could do).

Please let me know if you are interested, I have Pdf files of the first
two, and am working on transferring the other from an older composing
program to Sibelius,

Try Tavener's "Today the Virgin," which is not too hard, but interested all
of my folks, some of whom have multiple music degrees. It's also very
appealing to the audience. Also Gorecki's "Totus Tuus." How about the old
Peruvian hymn to the Virgin, "Hanacpachap," pub. 1601, available from
several publishers; and sometimes listed as attr. to Perez Bocanegra.
Kind regards,

Two settings of the Magnificat you might want to look at are in Selah's
catalog. Full length PDFs of the two anthems can be downloaded for review at
the following pages:


for double SATB chorus.

I have a three-minute setting of the Song of Mary for
SATB unaccompanied; this title is carried by Lux Nova

Sample page at:


Stravinsky's AVE MARIA is simple and beautiful. Please consider it.

Here are a couple of Renaissance pieces that could work:

Dixit Maria ad Angelum by Hassler
Ne Timeas Maria by Vittoria
There are numerous settings out there of the AVE MARIA. I'd suggest
Arcadelt, Verdi, Lasso, RachmaninoffBruckner, Bonnet, Des Prez, Mozart as
some that come to mind.

La virgen lava panales (arr. Shaw/Parker)
Bogorodiste Devo (Rachmaninoff)
The Shepherds' Farewell to the Holy Family (Berlioz)
Lullaby (Keel) SSA
Ring de Bells (arr. Hairston)
Ave maris stella (Kverno)
As dew in Aprille (Britten)
Ave Maria (Biebl)

I read your notice in Choralist and would like to call your attention to my
following 3 compositions to the Virgin Mary:
1) Regina mundi dignissima, for Mixed Choir a cappella, or with Organ, (or
also with Organ and Strings) (Latin) (1992,2000) (5´)
2) Ave Regina, for Mixed Choir and Organ (Latin) (1993) (4´)
3) Beata Dei Genitrix, for 4-Voices Choir and Organ, (or for Choir a
cappella) (Latin) (1994) (3´).

The first one was already published by:
Wolfgang G. Haas, P. O. Box 90 07 48, D-51117 Köln. Germany.
The remaining two ones ought to appear by the same publishers too.
I hope, you could be satisfied with all these compositions.

As to me, I am the Czech composer, I have composed the great number of the
choral compositions (e.g. 9 masses), sacred or secular too. It seems I
belong to the leading Czech composers of such music; these my compositions
were awarded more than 40 prizes (10 international) and all have been
appearing in the great world publishing houses.
If you would like to learn something more about me, please visit the
websites: (comp - laburda) (laburda), (laburda)
www.Google (laburda.jiri)
If you would have some problems, please, contact me and I will try to be of
help for you.

The 3 "Lady" motets by Healey Willan: Fair in Face, I beheld her, and Rise

up, my love. Published by Oxford University Press.

Imant Raminsh wrote a very beautiful Ave Maria for mixed choir and Mezzo
soloist. I believe would have it for sale.

David MacIntyre wrote an Ave Maria (that is the only text - very
mantra-like) for SSSSAAA, published by Cypress in Vancouver.

Here are some additional listings for the suggested "Song's of Mary"
repertoire request.

Best wishes to all for the upcoming concert season.

Patricia Corbin
Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville, AL

1) How could someone mention Verdi's Ave Maria without the Laudi alle
Vergine movement from the same Four Sacred Pieces. (or did I miss it?)
It is exquisite. SSAA, a cappella.

(2) If you are looking for an interesting Magnificat, Praetorius wrote
one (in German). Nuts, I don't have any more info such as work #. I
just remember performing it in college, and was struck by the setting of
the text against the music for "fullet er mit Guttern" (he fills [the
poor] with good things) vs. "und lass die Reichen leer" (and leaves the
rich empty). The first phrase is richly layered with voice and
instrument. The second phrase sings along until the word "leer" (empty)
which is sung by one voice. Very effective.


I don't know how your original request for Marian songs slipped by me! Here
are a couple of links to new pieces we released over the last few weeks at
Harrock Hall.................

A Song of the Virgin Mother -’
There is no rose of such virtue -

Best wishes-
Cecil Rigby
rigrax(a) (personal)


Regarding your recent choralist post, you might be interested in a short
Marian motet I composed late last year. It's an a cappella setting of the
text "Tota Pulchra es Maria" (the five antiphons for the Feast of the
Immaculate Conception), harmonically based entirely on a hexatonic scale
consisting of the pitches within the major triads built on A and E-flat.
Although it's currently unpublished, it will soon be released by Oxford
University Press.

If interested, I'd certainly be happy to send you a perusal manuscript copy.

All best,


Howard Helvey

Pianist - Composer - Organist/Choirmaster of

Calvary Episcopal Church

748 East Epworth Avenue (home address)

Cincinnati OH 45232-1840

phone/fax: 513-542-0732

mobile: 513-476-3261

email: hergenfluet(a)


I've just received you query about repertory for a "songs of Mary"
program and will put in the mail a setting for which Assoc. Dean of the
Wake Forest Divinity School Jill Crainshaw and a colleague provided the
text and I composed the music: "Mary's Song: A Song That Never Ends."
It is for solo voice, obbligato (We've used violin once and flute once;
I prefer the violin), and keyboard. We use it in our Advent Festival of
Lessons and Carols on our campus each year, this year on Nov. 30th.

I hope you will include it in your compilation and also consider
performing it. The score and parts are available from me, for the cost
of a s.a.s.e, at this point.

Susan Borwick

I have three Mary pieces: and Ave Maria which just won 1st Prize in
the Jihlava (CZ) International Composer's competition, the second is
Mary Had a Baby,

Alleluia! - a Christmas piece.

Both are Lively.

The third is is piece from a Trobadora text "Na Maria" by Bieris de
Romans which is Spanish/Moorish in style, for Soprano Solo and Viola
and hand held percussion (which the chorus could do).

Please let me know if you are interested, I have Pdf files of the first
two, and am working on transferring the other from an older composing
program to Sibelius,

Kind regards,


contest in June of 2004, and the other

On Jul 20, 2004, at 5:41 PM, pcorbin(a)JSUCC.JSU.EDU wrote:

> Colleagues,
> I am putting together a concert of music related to the Virgin Mary
> and the
> Anunciation for my community choir. I have several settings of the
> Magnificat
> but I need some shorter (2-6 minutes) SATB works to fill out the
> program. a
> variety of styles would be great. Any suggestions?
> Patricia Corbin
> Director of Choral Activities
> Jacksonville State University
> Jacksonville, AL
> pcorbin(a)
Naomi Stephan, Ph.D., ASCAP
105 Fernando Drive
Ojai, CA 93023
I'd like to make an addition to the Songs of Mary thread from last week.

Wake Forest University professor and composer Susan Borwick has written a
very effective piece "Mary's Song: A Song That Never Ends." It's written
for solo voice, keyboard, and treble-instrument obligato, preferably violin.
The text authors are Jill Crainshaw, Associate Dean of the WFU Divinity
School, and Sheila Hunter. The piece is available, free of charge (SASE
requested) from the composer, Dr. Susan Borwick, Wake Forest University

Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson, Minister of Music
Knollwood Baptist Church
330 Knollwood St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27104
(336) 725-1343