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Ave Maria

by Charles Gounod

ave maria by charles gounod


Ave Maria is a popular setting of the Latin prayer “Hail Mary”. Charles Gounod superimposed a melody on a slightly changed version of J.S. Bach Prelude no1 in C Major BWV 846 from Book1 of his Well-Tempered clavier.

In 1852, Gounod accompanied by his fiancé Anna Zimmermann visited Anna’s father, Pierre-Joseph -Guillaume Zimmermann who had taught at the Paris Conservatoire. One evening Gounod improvised this melody over the Bach prelude and was overheard by Zimmermann. The performance captivated Zimmermann and utilising a small choir, piano and violin he presented it in a concert at his home a few days later.

The work appears to have been first published in1853, under the title “Meditation sur le Premier Prelude de Sebastian Bach” (Meditation on the First Prelude of Sebastian Bach)

The original version was a meditation not a song.