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Project Hildegard #17

ave maria

The birth of the Virgin Mary is celebrated on September 8th. Here, in her honour, is Hildegard’s responsory, ave maria.

This is the third responsory that I have so far recorded during this project, the others being o clarissima mater and o viriditas digiti dei.

Although it follows the usual structure of a responsory, this ave maria is rather unusual. It stays firmly rooted in what we would now call a C major triad (although it does make significant use of the low Bflat). There’s also an unusual amount of melodic repetition. It’s true that there is some melodic repetition at the beginning of o clarissima mater, but this ave maria goes much further in its reuse of the melodic material. For example, the material from the repeated end of the refrain (quem inspiravit spiritus dei) comes back in the verse and the gloria.

hail mary, source of life in rebuilding salvation, who has shaken death and trodden the serpent to which Eve reached up, her neck high with inflated arrogance. This you crushed by giving birth to god’s son from heaven, inspired by god’s spirit. O sweet and loving mother, hail, who gave the world your son sent from heaven, inspired by god’s spirit. Glory be to the father and to the son and to the holy spirit. Inspired by god’s spirit.

This project is now on SoundCloud

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