Ave Maria 6vv.

Composer: Ignotus (Unknown) - misattribution to Nicholas Gombert


This music is assumed to be public domain in the USA. BEWARE: the modern-day recordings of that music are not!



AveWiki = the interactive counterpart of "Geert's Ave Maria  pages"
AveWiki link

X X X X X   Nicolas   Gombert   1490c 1556c   1538     Gabriel nuntiavit Ave Mariae      
X X X X X   Nicolas   Gombert   1490c 1556c   1538      Ave Maria gratia plena  2p    
I have a music notation program file of this song  (NWC, Sibelius, etc.) X X Nicolas   Gombert 1490c 1556c 1539   Ave Maria 5vv    
X X X I have a video of this song. Nicolas   Gombert 1490c 1556c 1539   Ave sanctissima Maria 5vv    
X X X X X   Nicolas   Gombert   1490c 1556c   1539     Saluto te sancta virgo Maria       
I have a music notation program file of this song  (NWC, Sibelius, etc.) X Nicolas
  Gombert? NOT!         Ave Maria 6vv   a later-period MISATTRIBUTION to Gombert

A-ve Ma-ri-a! A-ve Ma-ri-a!
Gra-ti-a ple-na,
Do-mi-nus te-cum, Do-mi-nus te-cum,
be-ne-di-cta tu in mu-lie-ri-bus,
et be-ne-di-ctus
et be-ne-di-ctus fru-ctus ven-tris tu-i,
Ie-su. Ie-su. Ie-su. Ie-su.
San-cta Ma-ri-a,
San-cta Ma-ri-a, Ma-ter De-i,
o-ra pro no-bis
o-ra pro no-bis pec-ca-to-ri-bus,
nunc et in ho-ra mor-tis nos-trae,
A-men. A-men. A-men.

   Ave Maria

play/stop MIDI:

play/stop MP3 sample:

Posted on YouTube:    
Uploaded by haroldstover on Jul 2, 2011

Renaissance Voices, Harold Stover, conducting

Several published scores, recordings and a number of files circulating on the Internet attribute this song to Nicolas Gombert.
PLEASE take note of the following email messages that question the authenticity of this attribution to Nicolas Gombert. 
My thanks to Prof. Dr. Urquhart and Dr. Rice for their comments. 

From: Peter Urquhart
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 7:53 PM To: Geert Cuypers
Subject: RE: Ave Maria

Dear Mr. Cuypers,
I've just looked at your site, and it looks promising, and a lot of work! 
I looked in particular at the Gombert setting, since you had mentioned that you had a score. I was struck to find that the piece you have, from the cpdl.org site, was not a piece by Gombert that I had ever seen before. Furthermore, it really did not look like Gombert's style to my eye, and I actually do know his style quite well. I checked New Grove Dictionary and confirmed that there is no 6-voice Ave Maria by this composer, but only the 5v version that I allude to in my website. In fact, the more I look at the cpdl.org Ave Maria, the closer I am to saying that it is not by any Renaissance composer, at least by a Franco-fleming of this period.

It is very likely a forgery, if I might use that term; a piece that someone wrote, or reconstructed, or borrowed from some other time period; they then placed Gombert's name on it to give it a push into the world of the internet. It is one of the frustrations of this medium that it takes very little to send out false information, and have everyone accept it and pass it on to the next site. To actually determine the source of this piece seems to be in no one's interest, so no one checks.

However, I think this does Gombert's name quite a disservice, and I hope you will start the process of inauthenticating this piece. .../... I have already written to the cpdl.org to ask for the source of this score in their database, and to tell them of my opinion. We'll see if they have any response.-

Peter Urquhart 
Music Dept. - UNH 
Durham, NH 03824 

My follow-up on this message:
This song is attributed to Nicholas Gombert in several locations on the Internet, including files at www.cpdl.org, as well as in the Werner Icking Music Archive. The links below are all for the same music.
  1. MIDI file at www.classicalarchives.com
    bulletAve Maria [2:31] (J.-C.Templeur).
  2. MIDI file at www.choirmidi.nl :
    bullet Ave Maria  
  3. Files at www.cpdl.org 
    bullet Ave Maria   Finale-2000 Submitted by: Claudio Macchi
    bullet Ave Maria   ABC Plus 6-part SSATTB  Edited by Guido Gonzato.  
  4. Files at http://abcplus.sourceforge.net/index.html 
    bullet"Ave Maria", Nicolas Gombert (c. 1490-1560)
    bullet Ave_Maria_Gombert.abp
    bullet Ave_Maria_Gombert.pdf
    bullet Ave_Maria_Gombert.mid

After Prof. Urquhart's email, I attempted to verify authenticity by writing to the Web Site owners who posted this (identical) music:

  1. Claudio Macchi submitted almost 400 scores to cpdl.org, he states he made this one several years ago and does not remember where this specific score was obtained. I have requested him to be so kind to verify his sources. He stated he doesn't have them anymore.
  2. J.-C.Templeur sequenced from the PDF file at cpdl.org by Claudio Macchi.
  3. Guido Gonzato sequenced from the same CPDL file by Claudio Macchi.
  4. Piet Mennen: stated he obtained the score from his choir leader, and emailed me a copy of the page. It appears to be a page from a German edition music book.  (see below) I have requested Mr. Mennen if it would be possible to trace this source further. So far, I have not received a follow-up. [comment added 05/28/09: I found a notice on the choir website that Piet Mennen passed away February 2006.]

Prof. Urquhart comments that the style of this 2nd song is inconsistent with the composition style of the time.
I am quite willing to accept that statement from someone who certainly knows A LOT more about music than I do.

However, I am also obligated to report that there are still 2 independent sources for this attribution, one  from a verifiable printed publication provided by Piet Mennen. From this it appears that the mis-attribution happened in the not so very recent past, and that music publishing companies may have perpetuated this error since.

Further comments are invited.

This is the score that Piet Mennen sent me in 2005.

This message received Sept. 03, 2007.
Dear Mr. Cuypers, 

I’ve just read your page on the Ave Maria setting in 6 parts that is circulating on the internet with an attribution to Nicolas Gombert. Prof. Urquhart is quite right to state that this piece cannot be by Gombert, nor any other sixteenth-century composer – from the style it clearly must have been written in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. There is only one piece by Gombert that is even slightly like it in style: a 4-part setting of Virgo Sancta Katherina, first published in 1534. However, the latter piece observes all the rules of sixteenth-century counterpoint, whereas the internet piece can only have been written by someone who learnt music after the ‘common-practice’ era. 

Prof. Urquhart, incidentally, is a leading scholar in this field. I am not, but I did write my doctoral dissertation (Oxford University, 2004) on Gombert’s 5-part motets, so I’m pretty familiar with his style. Since your page is about Ave Maria settings, you might be interested to know that I’ve recently made a CD which includes Gombert’s genuine 5-part setting of this text. The CD is released today on the Hyperion label (CDA 67614). 

Best wishes,
Stephen Rice

Dr S J Rice
Wolfson College, Oxford/University of Southampton

Dear Dr. Rice,

Thank you for your comments on my website. It is always nice to see that scholars do have some use for my effort. :-)

I am personally not in a position to say yay or nay on this issue of the (mis-)attribution to Gombert. I can only report what I have found on the internet, and I shall faithfully report your comments as well. I have posted your email under prof. Urquhart's comments and it will appear there next time I upload the web changes.
In acceptance of your comments, I have reinforced the likelihood of mis-attribution from possibly to probably. I have also renamed the MIDI and NWC files like the corresponding webpage to  "ignotus" to indicate my acceptance of your comments and to avoid perpetuating the mis-attribution. Of course, I cannot do anything about the postings at cpdl.org and the other sites.
Geert Cuypers

   Ave Maria Update July 2009:
These 2 CDs (Ave Sol, "Ave Maria Vol.1" + Irina Arkhipova, "Ave Maria") both have this same song attributed to Gombert. The AveSol CD dates from 1986. As far as I have been able to verify, the scores were posted on the Internet starting about 2000. This mis-attribution apparently dates back further than that.

Please spread the word!

Update December 2009:
I have finally found a printed score from a major publisher: Schott's Chorverlag, distributed by Hal Leonards in  the USA.
This is a 1997 reprint. No source is mentioned.

The publisher has been contacted info@schott-music.com 2010-06-19 for comments.
To date they have not bothered to respond.

Posted on YouTube:    

Page last modified: November 01, 2011

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