Ave Maria No. 12 – Porta Caeli (2016)

nativity-burne-jones-birmingham-window-490x585SATB a cappella choir

Commissioned by: The Houston Chamber Choir, Robert Simpson, cond.

Durata: ca. 6:30

Premiere: 12/10 and 12/11/2016, Villa di Matel, Houston, TX




Listen below to the Ave Maria No. 12 – Porta Caeli performed live by the Houston Chamber Choir: 

Program notes:

Ave Maria No. 12 – Porta Cæli is the twelth Ave Maria in my 50-year Ave Maria Project (composing a new Ave annually from 2005-2054). This one’s title captures the image of the Blessed Mother as being the “Gate of Heaven” which opened up to bring Christ to the earth. The text is taken from a Christmas sermon by Bl. John Henry Newman (1801-1809) of Oxford, England, focusing on the profound mystery of a human girl becoming the Mother of God.

Text, by John Henry Newman (1801-1890):

Ave Maria…

“She brought forth her first-born Son, 
and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, 
and laid Him in a manger.” 

He submitted to be the offspring of Mary,
to be taken up in the hands of a mortal,
to have a mother’s eye fixed upon Him,
and to be cherished at a mother’s bosom.

Ave Maria…

A daughter of man became the Mother of God
—to her, indeed, an unspeakable gift of grace;
but in Him what condescension!

The course of ages was to be reversed;
the tradition of evil was to be broken;
a gate of light was to be opened amid the darkness,
for the coming of the Just;
—a Virgin conceived and bore Him.