"Hail Mary, also commonly called Ave Maria (Latin) or Angelic Salutation, is a traditional Catholic prayer asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.
In Roman Catholicism, the prayer forms the basis of the Rosary and the Angelus prayers. In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, a similar prayer is used in formal liturgies, both in Greek and in translations.
It is also used by many other groups within the Catholic tradition of Christianity including Anglicans, Independent Catholics, and Old Catholics. Some Protestant denominations, such as Lutherans, also make use of a form of the prayer.
Based on the greeting of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary in the Gospel of Luke, the prayer takes different forms in various traditions.
Hail Mary, or Ave Maria in Latin, has been set to music numerous times.
Among the most famous settings is the version by Charles Gounod (1859), adding melody and words to Johann Sebastian Bach's first prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier.
Franz Schubert composed Ave Maria (Ellens Gesang III, D839, Op 52 no 6, 1825), Ellen's third song in English, as part of his Opus 25, a setting of seven songs from Walter Scott's popular epic poem "The Lady of the Lake," loosely translated into German. It has become one of Schubert's most popular works under the title of Ave Maria, but is not a setting of the prayer.
Settings also exist by Burgmuller, Mozart, Liszt, Byrd, Elgar, Saint-Saëns, Rossini, Brahms, Stravinsky, Lauridsen, Franz Biebl, David Conte and Perosi as well as numerous versions by less well-known composers, such as J. B. Tresch."
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