Now, this music is a setting of the Ave Maria; and being non-Catholic, we're thus not likely to get it in our church anytime soon. Nevertheless, it's absolutely gorgeous. I first learned it when I was in the Choraliers at San Jose State University in the early '90's, and it's been rolling around in my head ever since.
Interestingly enough, although it sounds like really old music on first listening, it's not. The writer, Franz Biebl, lived from 1906 until 2001, and wrote his Ave Maria in the mid-'60's. Originally it was for seven male parts--and in this form was picked up by the Men's chorus Chanticleer; but after it became popular, Biebl himself arranged it for seven-part mixed double chorus. This was the version that I learned with the Choraliers, and it's just as gorgeous. (And you need some serious sopranos to do it right).
The text of the piece combines the Angelus Domini texts, sung as plainsong chant:
Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ.with the Ave Maria, presented as a gorgeous seven-part double chorus:
Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
Maria dixit: Ecce Ancilla Domini.
Fiat mihi secundum Verbum tuum.
(The angel of the Lord announced unto Mary.
And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it unto me according to your Word.)
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.And while this music--and the liturgy and doctrine it's based upon--isn't part of my faith tradition, I still have to marvel at just how powerful and lovely this music is, and how elevated the sentiments are that led to someone composing such a thing. And from personal experience, I can honestly say that learning and singing it was--despite my not-entirely-compatible religious background--still a powerful worship experience for me. And even though I occasionally become jaded about Christian music--after a while, it all sounds the same for me--something inevitably reminds me of this piece and breaks through my cynicism.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.
(Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy. This is Angelus Domini, by Franz Biebl, sung by Chanticleer.