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Ave Maria/Ellens Dritter Gesang

( Franz Schubert / Arr. Napoleon Coste )

Ave Maria is one of Schubert’s most popular songs. It is also known as Ellens Dritter Gesang, a setting of a section from Walter Scott’s epic poem Lady of the Lake. This is a kind of Chanson de Geste which is enacted in the Scottish Highlands. Later a version appeared with the well known Latin text Ave Maria, Gratia Plena, etc.

A dear memory of mine is the fact that Ave Maria forms the last and moving section of Walt Disney’s movie Fantasia, which greatly impressed me when I bought it for my then young daughters. This section depicted the walk to heaven of the spirits who had been tortured and harassed in the previous section (Night on the Bare Mountain by Mussorgsky). In this way Disney has given many people a notion of classical music by means of this connection cartoon - classical music.

Ave Maria exists in many settings. So there is a setting for guitar and voice too. In the nineteenth centurty, Napoleon Coste (1806 - 1883) wrote a setting for guitar and a song text in the French language.

I turned into a guitar duo, simply setting the voice an octave higher and keeping Coste’s accompaniment as is. This arrangement turned out to be another adventure ofreading and studying quite old and badly readable scores. Specifically accidentals and triplets were poorly notated, but I hope to have found the correct solution.