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Ave Maris Stella

for SSAA choir with singing bowl

Year:  2012   ·  Duration:  4m 40s

Year:  2012
Duration:  4m 40s

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton

Films, Audio & Samples

David Hamilton: Ave Maris S...

Internal audio
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Sample Audio

Sample: 0'00"-1'00"

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Sample Score

Sample: pages 1-3

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Ave Maris Stella ('Hail, star of the sea') is a plainsong Vespers hymn to Mary. It was especially popular in the Middle Ages. The creation of the original hymn has been attributed to several people, including Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century), Saint Venantius Fortunatus (6th century) and Hermannus Contractus (11th century). The text is found in a 9th century manuscript in the Abbey of Saint Gall (St. Gallen in present-day Switzerland).

The piece uses little material other than the original chant melody. It is presented against a single sustained pitch from the singing bowl which sounds throughout. The work uses a mix of fully notated and semi-improvised music to create an atmospheric response to the text. Only the first and last verses of the text are used, with the choir only ever singing the first verse, and two solo voices singing the final verse.

Difficulty note

Suitable for school and community choirs

Dedication note

Dedicated to St Mary's Schola, St Mary’s College, Auckland

Text note

Text from traditional hymn

Performance history

29 Oct 2012: Performed by St Mary's Schola conducted by David Hamilton, at St Benedict's Church in Auckland.