Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Religious themes: Blessed Virgin Mary

Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 15:23:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Marian Anthem Compilation (longish)

Thanks so much to everyone who took time to share ideas, especially Jim
Feiszli for clarifying the several types of Marian works. I was looking for
Annunciation anthems, celebrated in March. Hope you can all use this info.

Warm thanks,

Ben Allaway
Des Moines, IA

* James D. Feiszli, D.M.A. *
* Director, ChoralNet *

By "Anunciation/conception" I assume that you
do not mean the current-day "Visitation" celebration
(May 31) .. nor the "Conception of Mary" on
December 8, which celebrates *her* conception, but
rather the March 25th "Annunciation" or visit to
Mary by Gabriel.
The Graduale Triplex lists the following texts
for Propers for the May 31 "Visitation"

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino de cuius festivitate (IN)
Bendicta et venerabilis (GR)
Felix es, sacra Virgo (AL)
Beata es, Virgo Maria (OF)
Beatam me dicent (CO)
For the December 8 Conception of Mary:

Gaudens gaudebo (IN)
Benedicta es tu, Virgo Maria (GR)
Tota pulchra es (AL)
Ave Maria (OF)
Gloriosa dicta sunt de te (CO)

For the Annunciation (March 25) of Our Lord:

Rorate coeli (introit)
Tollite portas (gradual)
Audi, filia (tract)
and in paschal time, either of the alleluias:
Ave Maria
Virga Jesse
Ave Maria (offertory)
Ecce virgo concipiet (communion)

Keeping in mind that the Ave Maria texts are different for
the different Proper items, by using these as titles, you
should be able to do a search on MUSICA and come up
with plenty of possibilities.

The Mathias: Salve Regina Op. 96 No. 5 came to mind. It is in the New
Church Anthem Book by Oxford.

Matt Swickey

Don't know how well these would fit liturgically, but gorgeous and simple
and doable pieces on the Annunciation theme would have to include two
things from Brahms Op. 22 "Marienlieder"; #l (The Annunciation) and #4 (The
the latter one never fails to speak to singers, audiences (congrations?).
e-mail or call me. Best! Bob

Dr. Robert Molison

Franz Liszt: Ave Maria

Easy but gorgeous a cappella setting for SATB.

Masterworks Press (800) 300-9229
Catalogue No. 4016
50 cents/copy or reproducible master for $10 (unlimited copying)

Jerome Gries
Masterworks Press

Leo Nestor is very well acquianted with Marian anthems as he's composed
several beautiful ones himself, and is music director at the country's
largest Catholic Church/Marian Shrine. He will also know much about various
texts and their usability in particular liturgies. His address is

Good luck,
Christopher Candela
Student at the Catholic University of America

I like Hassler's Dixit Maria Ad Angelum. Edited by Patrick Liebergen,
published by Thomas House Publications (1C0309109).


Vern Sanders

Why yes I do. Why don't you sing Robert Parsons "Ave Maria?" Its a
wonderful Tudor English piece that I learned some years ago when I sang in a
pick-up choir conducted by John Rutter. I believe that it is in the Oxford
Book of Tudor Anthems.

Its a beautiful, etherial piece that sounds wonderful in a spacious acoustic.

Ben Baldus, Parish Musician
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Lansing, MI USofA

Hi Ben! The Annunciation acc. to St. Luke of Schutz comes to mind.
Too long? Excerpts?

David Griggs-Janower

Re, the Annunciation, there is a wealth of Orthdodox hymnography for
this feast. My favorite is a hymn with the text "With the voice of the
Archangel we cry out to you, O Virgin: 'Hail, O Full of Grace, the Lord
is with you!'" It is sometimes sung by a female trio and sometimes by a
mixed choir: in the liturgy it is sung several times, like a psalm
antophon, interspersed with psalm verses. Holy Note Press has published
a couple of settings under one cover: cat no. HNP 055.

Then, of course, there is "Rejoice, O Virgin" (Bogoroditse Devo), set by
Rachmaninoff, Gretchaninoff, and Tchaikovsky, among others. The words
are quite appropriate (being taken straight from the scriptural Angelic
salutation). In the Orthodox version the latter portion--"Sancta Maria,
Mater Dei, etc"--does not exist, so the text remains more specific to
the Annunciation (although the Orthodox use this hymn every week at
Vespers, and not as a proper for Annunciation).

Hope you are well. It was good to see you in San Diego, however briefly.

Vlad Morosan
Musica Russica - "Your source for Russian choral music!"

Patrick Hadley's 'I sing of a maiden'. Can be done by treble voices (SA),
or by two soloists. Spellbinding, IMHO. There are many medieval Marian
texts which have been set as carols, and can be used as anthems.

// Joanna Holland
/ Collegium Records

I suggest "Dixit Maria" by Hans Leo Hassler. Also, not really a
Marian anthem, but topically related and a wonderful SSA piece, is
"Gabriel's message" by Alice Parker, on a mystical text by John Mason
Neale; it is one of the movements in her cantata "An Easter
rejoicing" (ECS).

Best regards,
Jack Burnam
Wilmington, DE

Frank Ferko has a set of Six Marian Motets, for many of the usual Marian
Feasts in the church year. It is published by ECS Publishing (E.C.
Schirmer) in Boston- their catalog number is 4999 (#3 from the set).

David Eberhardt

"Ne timeas Maria" by de Victoria is one of the loveliest mrain annunciation
hymns that I have heard, and as the director of the Catherdal Choir at a
Mrian Cathedral, I get to hear many Marian tunes. "Ave Marias" are also
appropriate for conception/annunciation. A good non-liturgical hymn is a
setting by the very young Johannes Brahms (I think he was 21 or so) of a
folk-tune called "The White Dove," "Die Wiesse Taube" in german, which is
available in a fine English translation.
Jeffrey Jones
Austin TX

The first things that came to mind were "Dixit Maria" especially the Hassler
setting and "Ne Timeas Maria" by Victoria.

Wilbert O. Watkins

Date: Mon, 30 Dec 1996 14:03:37 -0500
From: (Philip Kern)
To: choralist@lists.Colorado.EDU
Subject: Compilation of extended sacred works with text ref. to Mary

Blessings to all who responded to my query regarding extended sacred works
with text reference to Mary. My special thanks goes to the individual who
interpreted "Mary" to mean "Mary Poppins"!!! The following is a
compilation of the responses.


I am presently doing a Magnificat byGiacomo Antonio Perti 1661-1756 edited
by Richard Bloesch Univ. of Iowa and published by Concordia 98-2686 It is
not very difficult and I am using Violin I Violin 2 Viola Cello Bass and
Harpsichord. I am doing it with the Northeast Arkansas Chamber Singers but
many years ago I did it with a volunteer church choir. Good Luck

Gary E. Morris


My favorite is "I Sing of a Maiden", and unfortunately I've misplaced my
copy or I could tell you who it's can be found in Book 2 of CAROLS
FOR CHOIRS (yes, the "orange" book!), and is usually performed as sop/alto
duet, altho I'm sure you could adjust it for your choir. It's breathtaking,
I think.....

Pam Sanders


Brahms wrote a set of Marianlieder for SATB.

Marjorie Drysdale


few years ago we performed a work from a contemporary Flemish (=belgian)
composer Vic Nees (1936), called "Regina Coeli - blue be it" for Sopano solo,
SSATB choir and Celesta accompaniment (exec.time 15'). This is a beautifull
combination of an english poem "blue be it" (sorry, don't remember the author)
performed by the soprano, with an underlying accompaniment of the latin "regina
coeli" by the SSATB choir, together with the "heavenly" sound of the celesta.

you can reach the publisher "notenboom" (=note-tree) in Belgium at:
(+32)-3-887-1580. this is both their fax- and phonenumber. I phoned them
earlier today, when they told me, there would be no problem you contacting them
directly. They have no e-mail, nor website; should you encounter problems
reaching them, let me know if i can be of any help.
BTW, you can find the curriculum of Vic Nees on the web at:

dirk goedseels
bass of the Musica Nova choir


A MAGNIFICAT (15') setting by Vivaldi is less difficult than the same
composers setting of the GLORIA. Strings and 2 oboes - Solos are not
difficult or can be done by the sections of the chorus. Ricordi publication.

Mozart - GRADUALE "Sancta Maria" K. 273 SATB - Broude Bros
Brahms - MARIENLIEDER - Opus 22 SATB CF Peters #3658
Hassler - DIXIT MARIA - SATB - J> Fischer 9679
Hadley - I SING OF A MAIDEN - SS Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew LTD
Carter - A MAIDEN MOST GENTLE - SATB - Oxford X266
Warlock - I SAW A FAIR MAIDEN - SATB - Oxford #722
Rutter - MARY'S LULLABY - SATB - X272

Dr. John Grigsby


Recommended Magnificat setting: Giles Swane (Novello) (I'm doing an
angel program right now, including responses to angels. And some Marian
texts, including the lovely Pierre Villette Hymne a la Vierge.

Harriet R. Simons
Director of Choruses
University at Buffalo


Verdi has Four Sacred Marian Anthems, a lovely set as I recall.

Dena Alimuddin
Tampa, Florida, USA


I have been working on setting the four principle Marien texts (REgina
Coeli, Ave Maria, Salve Regina, and Ave REgina Coelorum) as a set that can
be done individually or as a group. The only one I have completed at this
point is the Salve Regina. It is scored for a cappella SATB choir and
soprano solo in the middle section. The harmonic feel is very diatonic
with a "20th century" feel to it. I finished this out of necessity for a
smaller church choir in Tucson.

James Gall


Do you know the Pergolesi Magnificat? Very bouncy and youthful,
and the parts are not difficult. If they can do Mozart's Regina Coeli,
they can easily do this. It went over very well with my high school

- Joel Pressman
Beverly Hills High School


William Renwick

Bob Prowse

Ken Pendergrass


Mozart's Regina Coeli (K. 108) is quite
accessible for the group you describe. I'd also suggest his "Sancta Maria,
Mater Dei" K273. It is only five or six minutes long, but very rewarding,
and also would be accessible to the group you describe.

I'd suggest the Pergolesi "Magnificat" that isn't really by Pergolesi. You
can easily get away with having the choir sing the solo sections if you
don't feel like dealing with soloists.

All of these have been enjoyed very much by my kids and by our audiences.

Dean Ekberg


Have you considered Arcadelt's "Ave Maria"? If you do not know it- it is
late Renaissance style and four parts. Lovely phrases and rich harmony.
We are singing it this Christmas- the students appreciate its beauty.

Kathy May
Greeneville High School
Greeneville, TN


The cantata ELIZABETH with text by Miriam Therese Winter, a feminist
retelling of Luke's account of the Annunciation, music by Donald Sosin,
contains a number of Marian references. A tape and score are available.

Donald Sosin


Masterworks Press publishes two sensuous yet easy a cappella Marian pieces by
Franz Liszt: "Ave Maria" and "Regina Coeli".

If you'd like free reference copies, please reply with your snail-mail

Jerome Gries
Masterworks Press
fax: (360) 943-6808


I loudly recommend any of the Marian Motets by Frank Ferko. I
participated in a recording project of these works last year and found
them all to be exquisitely crafted pieces. Ferko is a smart man who
managed to translate the depth and emotion of the Marian texts into
sensitive and moving choral pieces. I would think they are very
appropriate for a choir like yours. The publisher is E.C. Schirmer.
Ferko's webpage is:
P.S. The recording is on the Arsis label (CD 102), distributed by
Allegro. The recent issue of American Record Guide has a review of it.

Sandy Glass


You might look at Halsey Steven's Magnificat. It is written for strings
and trumpet. I did it on my Master's recital with piano and trumpet, so
I'm not familiar with the string parts, but it is not too difficult in the
voice parts. Most of the difficulty comes from mixed meters, rhythm, etc.
As I remember it is not too difficult in the voice leading aspect.

Steve Hopkins
Director of Choral Activities
Appalachian State Univ.


There's the Durante Magnificat, which used to be attributed to Pergolesi,
I think. Arista publishes it, and it's been recorded (Willcocks??). There
is also an early Magnificat by Bruckner, for SATB, solists (minor roles),
strings without violas, trumpets and drums, organ. It's a charming piece,
about 80 measures, not difficult at all, and a kind of nice inclusion int
he repertory. I don't know if it's published yet.

David Griggs-Janower
Albany Pro Musica


I performed the Magnificat Anima mea by Buxtehude last fall and enjoyed it
very much. It call for ssatb choir, string quartet and continuo. I used five
soloists on the sections where the strings did not play, but you could use
the full choir just as well. If you would like, I will send you a copy.

Kent Skinner
University of Arkansas at Monticello


I am guest conductor of a choir called Cantos based in Germany, and had
myself considered doing a "Virgin Mary" concert at some stage in the
future. The following are the pieces I had thought of. Since Cantos is
an a-capella ensemble, these works are all without accompaniment. Some
may be too difficult- I leave that to your discretion.

Anton Bruckner- Ave Maria
William Byrd- Salve Regina
Johannes Eccard- Maria wallt zum Heiligtum (also an English version, "When
to the temple Mary went"- the story of Simeon blessing the Christ Child)
Robert Parsons- Ave Maria
Francis Poulenc- Salve Regina
Richard Pygott (not sure of spelling)- Quid petis, o fili
Tavener- Two hymns to the mother of God, The Annunciation (require large
forces, but very effective. NOT easy, however)

As far as Magnificats go, I've always been a big fan of Stanford in G for
soprano solo, choir and organ. I don't know of an orchestral/band
arrangement for it, but it's crying out to be done! Alan Wilson has
written a setting of the ASB text for choir, organ and synthesizer, which
again is very fine, and not so "modern" that it is inaccessible to younger

Hope this is of some use to you. If you decide not to post to the list, I
should be grateful for a summary of other responses you may receive.

Chris Johns


I saw your message on choral list and thought I might be able to
help. A 15 minute Magnificat by Antonio Vivaldi (I think Ricordi might
be the publisher) is at the same approximate difficulty level as his
Gloria and contains the same melodic charm, sturdy progressions, and
combinations of duets and solos. If you don't know the piece, take a
look at it. I think it would be about what you could be looking for.

Dennis K. Cox, D.M.A.


Try the Arvo Part "Magnificat." Sounds like your choir could
most likely handle it if they can do the Vivaldi Gloria. Good luck.

Richard Waters


If you have access to both an organ and a good soprano soloist (she must
be good), a favorite of mine is C. V. Stanford's Mag & Nunc setting in G

Will Heim


I hope someone has suggested the Brahms Marienlieder. Last year one of the
choirs I sang in at Virginia Wesleyan College did them with great success
and enjoyment. They're SATB a capella, probably right at your group's
level. Lots of German, though, so I hope your group is willing to give it a
shot. Since all the songs are strophic, we experimented with solos and
quartets to keep things interesting. I hope Brahms approved.

The same group has also done Magnificats by Pergolesi and Leonardo Leo. The
Leo in particular might be perfect for your group, sort of a stile antico
thing they might be really comfortable with, but both would be great. I
believe the Pergolesi wasn't written by Pergolesi at all but by his teacher,
but it's been attributed to him for so long that I'm sure your music source
would know what you mean. We performed both of these with a quartet (maybe
there were a couple extra strings; I'm not too sure), winds, and continuo.

Here at Northwestern, where I'm now studying conducting, we are working on
a Magnificat by Gerald Finzi which is positively delicious. It's a little
bit more tricky, but very lush and beautiful, with wonderful singable
melodies and great word painting. It's a little bit larger, with some 8-part
writing and a larger accompaniment (either orchestra or a very full organ
part). I found it immediately accessible, and it's only gotten more
rewarding the harder I've worked. It *might* be a little tough for your
group, but it's certainly a piece worth knowing and might be a good
challenge for them. Our auditioned group was able to get the notes down in
a couple of rehearsals, so yours could possibly handle it pretty well.
There's not a lot of obnoxious 20th century stuff going on, which helps.
There are some nice rich harmonies, 7th and 9th chords, that sort of thing,
that would be good for their ears. In any case, if it's too soon to try it,
it might be something they could work up to for a general concert in a year
or so. I love this piece so much that I'm recommending it to everyone I
know--and now someone I don't!

Good luck. Here's to 60 more years.

Nicole Aldrich
Northwestern University


There are a number of works you might consider from the Russian choral
repertory. Contact MUSICA RUSSICA at

for more info and details.

Some of my other favorites off the top of my head include:

"Song of Mary" (Friedell)
"Hymn to the Virgin" (Britten)
"Ave Maria" (Verdi, Mouton, Vittoria, Bieber, etc.)
"Cherry Tree Carol" (lots of arrangements, perhaps Willcocks)
"Magnificat" (Pergolesi/Durante [strong q-tet or quintet], some wonderful
settings by Morales)



I have a great arrangement of "It's a Jolly Holiday with Mary" from "Mary
Poppins" is has wonderful piano transcript . . . . what? . . . . Sacred? . .
. uh . . . Well for us Julie Andrews fans, "Mary Poppins" is a sacred work,
thank you very much.

Ormly Gumfudgen


A few suggestions:
SALVE REGINA by Pier Francesco Cavalli
(about 8 minutes)

(about 6-7 minutes)

O MARIA, VENERANS ROSA by Jacques Clement
(about 5-6 minutes)

I heard all of these on a CD with the Monteverdi
Choir under John Eliot Gardiner - Erato ECD88087.

Also: any setting of STABAT MATER - ranges from
15 to 90 minutes. Avoid Dvorak (1 3/4 hr.)
There is a 10-12 minute setting by a major composer
but I can't recall whom!!

AVE MARIA - Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, others.

Hope the concert goes well!

Jeremy Landig


David Hogan, Magnificat "Mt. St. Alban". Published with its companion
Nunc Dimittis by E.C. Schirmer, Cat. No. 4668.

Manchester (NH) Choral Society are presenting it in our December
concerts, 8 pm Fri Dec 13 at St Paul's Church, 21 Centre Street, Concord,
NH; and 3 pm Sun Dec 15 at the Abbey Church, St Anselm College,
Manchester, NH.

David Hogan served at Washington National Cathedral. This work was
commissioned for the Festival Evensong of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral,
September 28, 1990, in celebration of the completion and consecration of
the building. He was a passenger on the ill-fated Flight 800.

Donald F. Burrill, Professor Emeritus


My special favourites are Parsons' Ave Maria, available in the Oxford
Book of Tudor Anthems (SAATB), Britten's "Hymn to the Virgin" (you
need a semi-chorus of 4 soloists SATB), Stanford's Magnificat in G
(you need a good sop soloist with high notes), Gibbons Magnificat from
the Second Service.

Maryann Lisk


You are probably swamped with suggestions by composers proposing their settings
of the Magnificat, but I am bold enough to add mine to the list.

In a collection of liturgical music published this year by Oregon Catholic Press
(OCP), entitled "In remembrance of you" is a setting of the Magnificat (in the
ELLC translation). The version that is printed is for solo soprano, SATB choir,
organ, and clarinet obbligato. If desired, the solo line may be taken by the
choir sopranos singing in unison. I also have a scoring of the accompaniment
for strings, should you want it. The demands of the work fall well within the
limits you mention in your request.

A phone call to OCP's customer service will put you in touch with somebody who
can help you more directly by sending you a preview copy: 1-800-548-8749.

You might also ask about a Marian hymn that appeared in a collection published
by OCP in 1995. The hymn is called "There is nothing told about this woman",
and the collection is called "God here among us". The text weaves together
significant passages from the New Testament that speak of Mary. Both this song
and the Magnificat have been recorded by OCP.

Happy hunting.

Chris Willcock

i didn't see your original question or i would have added one more:

in college i remember singing a magnificat by Charles Theodore
Pachelbell (apparently no relation to the more famous Kanon composer).
apparently he was an american composer and i believe the notes on the
music said that the magnificat was the only published piece of music by
him. it wasn't too difficult, however it was for double choir. i
remember we performed it antiphonally. sorry i don't know anything more
about it.....

David Soniat


1. Ave Maria--Josquin des Prez
Composed around the beginning of the sixteenth century, very
beautiful with a sensitive matching of music and words. The text is not
the traditional, the english translation from the latin is:
Hail to thee Mary, full of grace,
Whose solemn conception, earthly, divine,
Brings new joy.
Hail to the birth, of conception immaculate
The light from the East that with pious humility
Announced our salvation.

Hail to the chastity through which we are purged.
Hail to the sublimest of virtue; the Assumption
that glorified man.

O Mother of God
Remembrance mine.

2. Aeternae Laudis Lilium--Robert Fayrfax
A very early english composer, I do not have the text
handy, it is quite long and very beautiful. I believe it was written for
Immaculate Conception as the text deals with Mary's lineage from Jesse
and mentions Elizabeth and Joachim. Splendid, very beautiful, difficult
but worth it.

A joyous Christmas and a Prosperous New Year,

David A. Domet
Cantor, The Toronto Oratory Choir


I was away for a long time and did not see your orignial posting, but I
have seen your recent summary of responses. Since there were so many
mentions of Magnificats, I thought I would mention my own Magnificat and
Nunc dimittis (English text) which is used from time to time at Evensong in
a number of locations. It is available in computer score directly from me.
If it is not too late to include it in your website, here is the

Jackson Hill, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (1972) (SATB/Organ) [English
text]. Duration: 6 and 4 minutes.

Available in computer score from the composer.
inquiries: Jackson Hill
Department of Music
Bucknell University
Lewisburg, PA 17837
fax: 717-524-1215


Mark Foster Music Company is agent for the
Carus-Verlag catalog of Stuttgart, Germany. This catalog carries the Vivaldi
Magnificat, Durante Magnificat, Brahms Marienlieder, Magnificats by Zelenka,
etc., plus extended works by Bach, Mozart (co-produced with Baerenreiter),
Mendelssohn, etc.

We will send you a catalog if you get us your mailing address. E-mail David
Bohn at:

Jane Menkhaus, President


Please include Franz Biebl's Ave Maria. It's a totally sumptuous,
contemporary acappella
work scored for various performing forces: SAT trio with SATB chorus; TTB
trio with men's chorus; or SATB quartet with SATB chorus.


I think I was unsubscribed when your original message was sent... the
compilation list is very interesting, but could I add Kenneth Leighton's 2
settings of the Magnificat? They are both popular here in Britain amd are
available on CD (St. Paul's Cathedral Choir- Hyperion)
Leighton wrote a great deal of sacred choral music (Lully, lulla, the
Christmas carol is perhaps the best known in the US-) and there is a Web site
with all information at
Do have a look!
All best wishes
Jo Leighton (Mrs.)

on July 29, 2003 10:00pm
A setting of Ave Maria that is often overlooked but is a tremendously rich setting is by Josef Rheinberger. It is part of his "Adventmotteten", op. 176, available from Carus. They are all worth exploring.

Remember, also, that there are three settings of Regina Coeli by Mozart. They include K. 108, K. 125 and the often performed K. 276.

Cantata 10 of J.S. Bach is a setting which includes the German text of the Magnificat and the "tonus perigrinus" which is associated with the Magnificat text.

Another worthy composition is Mendelssohn's Ave Maria (op. 23, no. 2) for SSAATTBB choir.

Frederick Irwin
Faculty, William Patterson University

on July 30, 2014 8:17am
Another Magnificat to consider.  This one recently composed (2013) but in traditional language.
Magnificat in D Major. Gabriel Ruiz-Bernal
11-movement, written in traditional language, for SATB choir, soloists SATB, and string ensemble with two flutes, two oboes, three trumpets, timpani and piano.
Commissioned by the Choir of the University of Seville, Spain in July 2013 and premiered in December 2013 at the Teatro Lope de Vega of Seville with the Orquesta Sinfónica Hispalense.
Performance length: 35 minutes.
More information at:
Gabriel Ruiz-Bernal
Faculty. Levine Schooll of Music. Washington DC