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Franz Schubert - Ellens Gesang Nr 3 - Ave Maria

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Published on Jul 26, 2008

This is the fourth in my series of Schubert songs from Sir Walter Scott's "Lady of the Lake". This song is popularly known as the "Ave Maria", but actually stems from Schubert's cycle of three of Ellen's songs from the Scott epic poem.

In the Scott work the main character of Ellen Douglas has taken refuge with her father, Lord James Douglas, in the Goblin Cave on Loch Katrine, in order to hide from the forces of the Scottish King James V and avoid her father being taken prisoner. Ellen sings this "Hymn to the Virgin", as Scott calls it, calling upon her for help.

It was only later that someone thought of adapting Schubert's melody to the Latin hymn. This led to the misconception that Schubert had originally written this as a setting of the "Ave Maria".


Ave Maria! Jungfrau mild,
Erhöre einer Jungfrau Flehen,
Aus diesem Felsen starr und wild
Soll mein Gebet zu dir hinwehen.
Wir schlafen sicher bis zum Morgen,
Ob Menschen noch so grausam sind.
O Jungfrau, sieh der Jungfrau Sorgen,
O Mutter, hör ein bittend Kind!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! Unbefleckt!
Wenn wir auf diesen Fels hinsinken
Zum Schlaf, und uns dein Schutz bedeckt
Wird weich der harte Fels uns dünken.
Du lächelst, Rosendüfte wehen
In dieser dumpfen Felsenkluft,
O Mutter, höre Kindes Flehen,
O Jungfrau, eine Jungfrau ruft!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! Reine Magd!
Der Erde und der Luft Dämonen,
Von deines Auges Huld verjagt,
Sie können hier nicht bei uns wohnen,
Wir woll'n uns still dem Schicksal beugen,
Da uns dein heil'ger Trost anweht;
Der Jungfrau wolle hold dich neigen,
Dem Kind, das für den Vater fleht.
Ave Maria!

German version by Adam Storck



Ave, Maria! Maiden mild!
Listen to a maiden's prayer;
Thou canst hear though from the wild,
Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care
Though banished, outcast and reviled,
Maiden hear a maidens prayer.
Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria! Ave, Maria! Undefiled!
The flinty couch we now must share,
Shall seem with down of eider piled,
If thy protection hover there.
The murky cavern's heavy air
Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled;
Then, Maiden, hear a maiden's prayer,
Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria! Ave, Maria! Stainless-styled!
Foul demons of the earth and air,
From this their wonted haunt exiled,
Shall flee before thy presence fair.
We bow us to our lot of care
Beneath thy guidance reconciled,
Hear for a maid a maiden's prayer;
And for a father hear a child!
Ave Maria!

Sir Walter Scott


Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano)
Gerald Moore (piano)

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