This sacred motet by Anton Bruckner, is a setting of the Latin prayer Ave Maria. Composed in Linz in 1861 and originally scored in F major for seven unaccompanied voices, sometimes known as an Offertorium, it was published in Vienna in 1867.
Josef Anton Bruckner (1824–1896) was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets, many of which are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism. Unlike other musical radicals such as Richard Wagner, Bruckner showed extreme humility before other musicians. Anton Bruckner was born in Ansfelden a suburb of Linz. Bruckner's ancestors were farmers and craftsmen; their history can be traced to as far back as the 16th century. Unlike his romantic symphonies, most of Bruckner's choral works are often conservative and contrapuntal in style. Bruckner learned to play the organ early as a child and was a renowned organist in his day, impressing audiences in France in 1869, and England in 1871, giving six recitals on a new Henry Willis organ at Royal Albert Hall in London and five more at the Crystal Palace. Though he wrote no major works for the organ his improvisation sessions sometimes yielded ideas for the symphonies. He taught organ performance at the Conservatory; among his students were Gustav Mahler. Biographers generally characterize Bruckner as a "simple" provincial man. Many biographers have complained that there is huge discrepancy between Bruckner's life and his work, for example "his life doesn't tell anything about his work, and his work doesn't tell anything about his life,” Anecdotes abound as to Bruckner's dogged pursuit of his chosen craft and his humble acceptance of the fame that eventually came his way. Once, after a rehearsal of his Fourth Symphony in 1881, the well-meaning Bruckner tipped the conductor Hans Richter: "When the symphony was over," Richter related, "Bruckner came to me, his face beaming with enthusiasm and joy. I felt him press a coin into my hand. 'Take this' he said, 'and drink a glass of beer to my health.'" Richter, of course, accepted the coin and wore it on his watch-chain. The Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, an institution of higher education is named after him as is the Bruckner Orchester also in Linz.
This sacred motet by Anton Bruckner, is a setting of the Latin prayer Ave Maria. Composed in Linz in 1861 and originally scored in F major for seven unaccompanied voices, sometimes known as an Offertorium, it was published in Vienna in 1867. First performed in a Mass in Linz Cathedral (now the Old Cathedral) where Bruckner was the organist and also director of the choral society. This work expresses his devout Roman Catholic beliefs, using modal chords and long Gregorian chant-like lines inspired by renaissance masters. The harmonic shifts and compositional techniques display a clear Romantic sensibility and the blocks of contrasting sound display Bruckner's roots as an organ improviser.