ave maris stella (ssaa)


  • Catalog ID: S-470
  • First Line: ave maris stella, dei mater alma
  • Composer: Mark Thomas
  • Voicing: ssaa
  • Accompaniment: optional violin, piano
  • Language: Latin
  • Country: Usa
  • Series: MOSAIC: The Pearl Shangkuan Choral Series
  • Other: new 2021
  • Score: View Score
  • Sound: Listen





The authorship of this Vesper hymn has been ascribed to the Cistercian monk St. Bernard of Clairvaux (c. 1090 – 1153), but it is firstrecorded in a manuscript found in the Abby of St. Gall (Switzerland) dating from the 9th century. Cardinal Tommasi ascribes it, withoutsufficient evidence, to Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitier (d. 609). This ancient hymn is one of the few unrevised hymns in the Roman Breviary.


The name Mary, according to St. Bernard, “is said to mean ‘star of the sea’… Indeed most aptly is she compared to a star; for as a starsheds its beams without any decay on its part, so the Virgin brought forth her Son without any damage to hervirginity” (Roman Breviary). She is heaven’s happy portal, through which Christ passes on his way to earth, andthe one by whose intercession mortals may enter the gates of heaven. The Ave (Ave Maria; “Hail full of grace…”(Luke 1:28)) of Gabriel’s annunciation “reverses” the name “Eve” (Eva, wife of Adam). “May Mary change Eva,a curse, into Ave, a blessing” (Britt).

An SATB version of this piece is also available.  See  S-345.