A few weeks ago I shared Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland) singing O Come O Come Emmanuel. I’ll share a few more of my favorite holiday songs in the next few days.
Here’s one I always go back to: Ave Maria, performed by Jewel.
This is not a case of “look at how clever the pop star is,” though I do enjoy calling attention to those pop singers who can actually sing. I have always loved the tone of Jewel’s voice, even if her song choices were a little annoying at times. A classical singer will probably find fault with her breath control. But I just think this is beautiful.
Ave Maria is a musical setting of the Hail Mary prayer. Jewel is doing the more difficult Charles Gounod / J.S. Bach version, though Schubert’s is probably a bit more popular. Ave Maria is not a carol, but I count it as Christmas music for three reasons:
- most people only listen to sacred music at Christmastime,
- Mary does figure rather heavily in the story of Jesus’ birth, and
- the first half of the Hail Mary is just the splicing together of a line from the Annunciation, when an angel comes to Mary to tell her she will bear the Son of God and says, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28), and a line from the Visitation a few verses later, when Mary visits Elizabeth, who says, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” (Luke 1:42)
Hope you enjoy it.
You can see all my Advent-themed pieces together at patheos.com/blogs/philfoxrose/tag/advent/. Please share this link, or just one to my blog, with anyone you think might be interested. Thanks!