Ave Maria Virgo Serena--rescue or alternative
  • I direct a group of about 12 singers. No one's a professional. We're fine with things like Sicut Cervus or Durufle's Ubi Caritas, but Josqin's Ave Maria Virgo Serena defeated us. I think the main problem was that it was too high for the tenors, but low enough for the altos that we couldn't really transpose it down. We could never make it sound beautiful--we could never get past the search-and-destroy stage.

    Anyway, we do wish we could do this piece. Does anyone have a trick or strategy to recommend?

    Alternatively, is there some other Josquin piece, just as wonderful, but not so hard? I looked into the Ave Verum Corpus for five voices, but it doesn't do it for me in the same way.

    Sorry if this is rather vague.

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,741
    AMVS is about as mixed-voices friendly as Josquin gets, alas. You might enjoy looking at Samuel Barber's edition, which does a fair amount of T/A swapping: it's included in the recently expanded 'Complete' Choral Music.
    Thanked by 1MG_PBS
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    If you'd like to get something going for Pentecost: there is a Contrafactum of the "Ave Vera Virginitas" section floating around setting the test of the "Veni Creator Spiritus". It looks like it would work OK alternating with the Gregorian version.
    Thanked by 1MG_PBS
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,137
    Have you tried the Josquin Ave verum corpus a3? Original is SAT, but I have it transposed down a perfect fourth for ATB, too.

    A lot of Josquin's 4-part works are (really) for S (or A) with countertenor, tenor, bass, and the countertenor & tenor parts are often quite close in range. Sometimes one can work around by having altos & tenors switch off in various sections to cover the ranges.
  • He has a 3 voice setting of Ave Verum. It is a bit simple, but quite lovely.

    Sorry, Charles, we must have been posting at the same time!
  • What about putting half of the tenors and half of the altos on each line? Then they could alternate taking the notes that were out of the range of the other section.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,019
    Per Salieri's suggestion, here is the "Veni Creator" text set to the "Ave vera virginitas" section of Josquin's motet. The chant would start on G, or, if this is too high, the polyphony could be lowered to B-flat and the chant start on F.