Mendelssohn’s Ave Maria

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdys, gemalt 1846 von Eduard Magnus (1799—1872) domain

On this memorial of the Holy Name of Mary, here is a magnificent rendition of the Ave Maria by Felix Mendelssohn, which may seem odd, as he was a ‘Reformed Christian’ from the age of seven, a denomination not known, to put it mildly, for their Marian devotion. But Mendelssohn had some soft spot for Our Lady, as he did for Scotland, and wrote music for both, the two perhaps not unrelated.

As one review describes the 8-part piece, published in 1830, when the composer was 21 years old:

Although Mendelssohn was a devout Protestant all his life, his setting of the Latin Ave Maria can be numbered among his most radiantly beautiful creations.

Here we find the tenderest tonal colours of edification, worship and religious thought directed towards Heaven and reflected in the eye.’