Ave Maria D.839
Franz Schubert

208

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An exquisite Romantic work climbs 23 places

It's a beautiful irony that the nation's favourite settings of the Ave Maria are composed by Bach and Schubert, yet neither of them actually wrote an Ave Maria. Schubert's music was actually written to the words of The Lady of the Lake, by Sir Walter Scott but translated into German and called Ellen's Third song. It was written as part of a set of Scott songs when the composer was twenty-eight and contains the words 'Ave Maria', but only in reference to the prayer itself.

The Annunciation by Fra Angelico (c. 1430).