Ave Maria Decorus
In 1853, Charles Gounod published Ave Maria, a melodic line added to J.S. Bach’s Prelude in C Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I.
In June, 2020 I wrote a middle part, a second keyboard part, to Gounod’s Ave Maria. We were a few months into pandemic life, and ensemble playing was at a standstill. Ave Maria was intended to offer pianists an ensemble experience without playing in person.
Below are recordings of all the parts, as well as parts 1 and 2, 2 and 3, and 1 and 3, to enable the playing of any part to complete the ensemble.
When performed with three people in person, two keyboards would be needed for parts 2 and 3. The Gounod vocal line, part 1, can be sung, played on a third keyboard (or an octave higher on one of the two keyboards), or performed by any instrument of that range.
Decorus is Latin for “decorated” or “beautiful.” Whether or not we remain distanced or isolated far into the future, Ave Maria Decorus is a beautiful enrichment of Gounod’s Ave Maria that is satisfying to hear and play.
Ave Maria Decorus Recordings
Performed by Chi Zhang, Sujie Zhao, and Laura Spitzer