From Ellens Gesang III, Hymne an die Jungfrau, D839, op.52, n° 6
Voice / Vocal Fach Soprano / Mezzo / Alto/ Baryton / Basse
Original key Bb Major
Language Latin or German
Composer Franz Peter Schubert
Poet Walter Scott

Ave Maria, a setting by Walter Scott , was composed by Franz Schubert in 1825 (Bb major) and published in 1826. It is the lied number 6 in his cycle Ellens dritter Gesang.

This Ave Maria is part of the Ellen’s dritter Gesang, a setting of songs Schubert wrote inspired by Walter Scott’s epic poem, The Lady of the Lake. It forms part of Schubert’s Liederzyklus vom Fräulein vom See. Adam Storck (1780–1822) is to be thanked for the translation of the poem into German.

Ellen Douglas (Loch Katrine in the Scottish Highlands) has exiled herself with her father in the Goblin’s cave as her father has refused to join Roderick Dhu, in his rebellion against the King James. As Roderick Dhu is on his way to battle, he pauses when hearing the song of Ellen, praying the Virgin Mary for help. As the song ends, he resumes his walk.

The Latin version is today the most frequently sang and this has led to a misconception on Schubert’s’ intention. Originally, he did not intend to write this melody as a setting for the Ave Maria, but as a Lied, narrating a moment of Ellen Douglas’ life.

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