Schubert's Ave Maria in Spanish??
  • Anybody have sheet music for this? We were asked for an upcoming funeral on monday
  • So far, the only versions I know exist other than the version in Latin (whose lyrics are the actual prayer) are the German, which I think come from some poem.

    Ave Maria is composed in such a way that it can only really fit the Latin, and the selfsame salutation to the Holy Virgin in Spanish simply wouldn't fit in Schubert's melody - the Spanish version has twice more syllables to accommodate the familiar pronouns it uses (Translated: God save You, Mary. Full are You of grace.) and ergo, it wouldn't fit well.

    Are you the director of a parish music program or something? What's the situation like, musically? I might be able, depending on the circumstances, compose a setting and give it to you.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,270
    ...can only really fit the Latin
    Not very comfortably! Repetitions are required to fill an even 2 verses, and there's no reason Spanish need work more awkwardly.
    Some sort of Russian text and a contrafacted wedding song on the miracle at Cana in both English & Italian can be found on the IMSLP page.
  • CGM
    Posts: 505
    The genesis of the piece is a little odd. Schubert had read a German translation of Sir Walter Scott's "Lady of the Lake" (which had been written originally in English). At one point, King Arthur lies down by a lake to sleep for the night, his head on a rock for a pillow, and he prays to Mary to protect him. In Sir Walter Scott's original, Arthur's prayer began with the words Ave Maria, and then continued in English. It was the same in the translation Schubert had - the words Ave Maria followed by the prayer in German. And so Schubert's song has a single Latin phrase, followed by a bunch of German text.

    Some decades later someone thought, "Schubert wrote an Ave Maria, but he used the wrong words. Guess I'll fix that!" and shoehorned the Latin text into the melody. Voilà, instant sacred music classic.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,352
    Voilà, instant sacred music classic.

    Or is it, perhaps, a piece of German lieder with a "shoehorned Latin text"?
    Thanked by 2chonak Jeffrey Quick
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,270
    At one point, King Arthur...
    Nobody reads Scott anymore, I guess, but Schubert's title Ellens dritte Gesang is a clue. Wikipedia has some fascinating trivia, and on a hunch I checked WP:es which has a literal translation of Scott's lyric, nearly singable as 89 89 98 98. But let's see how hard the actual Avemaria (apparently one word in Spanish) would be:

    Dios te_ sal-ve | Ma---rí---a,
    lle-na__ e--res de gra-cia, | el Se-ñor es_ con-ti---go.
    Ben-di-ta Tú e--res en--tre to-das las mu----jer-es, [a long breath!]
    y (ben)-di-to es_ el_ fru--to | de (tu) vien-tre Je------sús.
    [resorting to breaking notes for parenthetical syllables)]
    Santa Ma-rí-a, Ma(dre) de Dios,_ ru-e-ga |
    por (nos)-o-tros pe--ca-do----res,
    ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte. A------mén.
    [Two stanzas just feels like cheating, and maybe I identify more with Procrustes than a shoe salesman.]

    Here's Sir Walter: (is "Ave" really one syllable?!?)
    Hymn to the Virgin.

    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 maiden’s prayer;
    Mother, hear a suppliant child!
    Ave Maria!

  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 467
    My wife, who is a native Spanish speaker (albeit one with Traddie leanings and a who is WAY burned out on the Schubert Ave Maria from singing weddings) suggests just doing it in Latin as it will be understandable enough to Spanish speakers what is going on.
  • Surely if it is being requested for a funeral it must be known to whoever requested it. Either a Spanish version does already exist, or they simply know the Latin version and are mistaken about the language. In either case I would be happy not to hear the Schubert at either funerals or weddings, sweet in its hearing and sticky in its popularity as treacle though it may be.
  • In 2015, vansensei said, about the Schubert Ave Maria: "Ave Maria is composed in such a way that it can only really fit the Latin"

    Actually, it was composed for a very different German poem, and later shoehorned into the Latin (or the Latin was shoehorned into it).

    Here, with caps indicating syllabic stress, is the "normal" Latin Ave Maria:

    Ave MaRIa, GRAtia PLEna, DOMinus TEcum.
    BeneDICta tu in muLIEribus,
    et beneDICtus FRUCtus VENtris TUi, IEsus.
    SANCta MaRIa, MAter DEi,
    Ora pro NObis peccaTORibus,
    nunc et in HOra MORtis NOStrae. Amen.

    Here is the shoehorned Latin of the Schubert, full of acCENTS on the wrong sylLAbles:

    Ave MaRIa, GRAti-a pleNA,
    MaRIa, GRA-ti-a PLEna, Ave MaRIa, GRAti-a pleNA
    aVE, Ave DOmiNUS, domiNUS teCUM
    BeneDICta TU in MUliEribus
    et BEneDICtus
    et BEneDICtus FRUCtus VENtris
    ventris TUae, JE-e-e-e-e-e-SUS.
    Ave MaRIa

    Ave MaRIa, MA-TER deI
    oRA pro NObis peccaTOriBUS,
    oRA, oRA pro NO-o-o-BIS
    oRA, oRA pro NO-o-o-BIS peccaTOriBUS
    nunc ET in HOra MORtis
    in HOra MORtis NO-o-os-TRAE
    in HOra MORtis MORtis NOStrae
    in HOra MORtis NO-o-os-TRAE
    Ave MaRIa

    It is really painfully odd and unsuited. For those who speak Latin, it is embarrassing and cringe-worthy. So, to suggest any Spanish version would be worse is simply not so. I can't listen to it. It would be like having a bunch of English words backward-stressed, which I can't stand either.

    In contrast, the original German words fit just fine. FOr a composer who was such a genius at matching music and text, this is mind-bogglingly offensive. Yet people sing it all the time. Unbelievable.

    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Still better than the travesty that is the Gounod Ave Maria.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn