In 1853, Romantic composer Charles Gounod published Meditation on Bach’s First Piano Prelude (“Méditation sur le Prémier Prélude de Piano de J.S. Bach"), but the piece is more widely known under the moniker of Ave Maria among the general public. The work was born as an improvisation on Prelude No. 1 from the first book of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier which the French composer had played on the piano and which his future father-in-law, pianist Pierre Zimmermann, had promptly transcripted. And rapidly, its versions multiplied: a violin and choir version, followed by a cello arrangement and a piano one, and in 1859, Zimmermann also adapted it for voice to the Latin text of the Hail Mary hymn. And even though Gounod composed many other versions of Ave Maria later on in his career, no other had the same impact in terms of popularity and appreciation, no other sublimated the religious and musical inspiration of the exceptional artist that Gounod was.

Browse recordings of Ave Maria

Stream Charles Gounod’s Ave Maria on! is the best online platform for streaming Gounod’s Ave Maria live, on replay or VOD, offering you a virtual ticket to the most exciting concerts with the world’s best artists and orchestras captured in HD video. Improvised by Gounod on the theme of the first prelude from the first book of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier—a cornerstone in the history of classical music—Gounod’s Ave Maria successfully imposed itself as a major piece in religious ceremonies, both funerals and weddings. On, you can find some of the best musicians of our time taking up the challenge of performing Gounod’s Ave Maria.

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Ave Maria is an emblematic opera by Gounod, who was particularly devoted to religious music. In fact, the French composer even entered the Saint-Sulpice Seminary! But music was his first vocation and he wrote in his memoir: “I felt after some time that it was impossible for me to live without my art and, leaving the religious habit behind me,
I came back to the world.” And yet he found a way of reconciling his two souls, writing some sublimely pious works, and his Ave Maria is without a doubt among the most beautiful! This is not only because of its melody—one of the most delicate in the repertoire—but also thanks to the quill of Gounod, this hymn transforms into a passionate song in which praise of the Virgin overlaps with a serenade addressed to his artistic Muse. In the composer’s case, these two themes may not be contradictory. On, you can find some of the best interpretations of Gounod’s Ave Maria, whenever you want, wherever you like!