Ave Maria

Length / year

5' - 1978


SSAATTBB a cappella

Programme note

'Ave Maria' was composed in 1977 and first performed by Singcircle under its conductor Gregory Rose. I revised it in 1994.

The setting falls into a number of short sections. The opening section - simple interweaving polyphonic lines - is for four solo voices (or Choir 1) who are set apart spatially from the rest of the choir. The second for full choir only (Choir 2) is homophonic, employing sensuous chromatic harmony, while the third and fourth sections, which begin respectively with the words 'Sancta Maria' and 'Amen', combine the forces. The 'Amen' section has repeated phrases which are suggestive of the sound of bells ringing. A varied restatement of the opening polyphony for the solo voices, interspersed with the chromatic harmony of the second section, brings the work to a simple conclusion.

This work was one of the first to employ the twelve note 'raga' type scales upon which my music since 1976 has been based.