Kedal This article needs additional citations for verification. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It was especially popular in the Middle Ages and has been used by many composers as the basis of other compositions. Its frequent occurrence in the Divine Office made it popular in the Middle Ages, many other hymns being founded upon it.
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Hide Transcript Transcript Welcome to Harmonia. The 8th century hymn Ave maris stella--Hail! Star of the Sea--is one of the best-known examples of Marian chant, or in other words, chant associated with the veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus. First we heard the chant Ave Maris Stella, which is the theme of our program this week. That was followed by an arrangement of the piece from the medieval Faenza codex, which pairs the lengthened notes of the chant melody with a florid instrumental part.
Before the Reformation, hymns were usually sung by a trained choir with the voices singing in composed harmony, to use the term a bit loosely.
As might be expected, an old tune that appears so frequently, and traveled from one land to another with musicians singing by ear, is not exactly the same everywhere, differing by a note here and there, though it always remains recognizable. Our tune inspired composers throughout the ages to set it in different ways, from settings that alternate melody and harmony verse by verse, to instrumental versions, to through-composed pieces that hide the melody, to settings that retain the melody, sometimes more, sometimes less, to set the words of the entire Mass.
Our hymn is not complicated. It has seven verses of metrical Latin poetry; each line has six syllables and three of the lines rhyme. The hymn presents the Virgin Mary as a merciful and loving mother. Now we turn to another famous Flemish composer, Josquin des Pres, who composed an entire mass in four parts based on Ave maris stella in the late 15th century. John Sheppard was appointed the choir director of Magdalen College, Oxford, in but then moved on, later in the decade, to become a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal.
At just about the same time in Italy, Girolamo Cavazzoni was working in Mantua, living in the shadow of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Apparently a close friend of the music-loving Guglielmo Gonzaga, Cavazzoni composed organ music and was organist at Santa Barbara in Mantua, where he also supervised the building of the organ. Ave maris stella Did you notice that only one verse of our hymn was played? It is possible that the organ alternated with verses sung by the choir, just as earlier versions alternated chant and polyphony.
Our playlists, podcasts, and archived episodes are online at harmonia early music dot org. Vespers is traditionally sung at twilight, at the time when lamps are lit indoors. Vespers includes the singing of a hymn, and on feast days of the Virgin Mary, of which there are many in the Catholic Church, Ave maris stella is the hymn that is sung.
Any of the versions you hear might well find their way into Vespers. This leads us to another titan of early music in Europe, the Elizabethan composer William Byrd.
Ave maris stella
Ave Maris Stella