Notes: This Christmas choral work is suitable for concert and/or church use and is published in four different voicings. In addition to the SSA, there are also settings for SATB (CIM 1004), SAB (CIM 1068) and TTBB (CIM 1069). Each piece begins with a mid-range solo (or section) followed by an a cappella verse two in four parts and a final verse in unison with a descant and powerful piano accompaniment. The first of the four pieces to be composed was the SATB in about1994 with the SSA version following soon afterwards. The SAB and TTBB settings were added in 2001. All of these can be obtained in North America thru the retailers J.W. Pepper and Sheetmusicplus.com. There are printed versions and instant downloads available thru both of these web-sites. In 2005, Gentle Mary was translated into German and Dutch. These are available thru the European Choral Club.
Gentle Mary laid her child Lowly in a manger; There he lay, the undefiled, To the world a stranger, Such a babe in such a place, Can he be the Saviour? Ask the saved of all the race Who have found his favour.
Angels sang about his birth, Wise men sought and found him; Heaven's star shone brightly forth, Glory all around him. Shepherds saw the wondrous sight, Heard the angels singing; All the plains were lit that night, All the hills were ringing.
Gentle Mary laid her child Lowly in a manger, He is still the undefiled, But no more a stranger. Son of God of humble birth, Beautiful the story; Praise his name in all the earth, Hail the King of Glory.
Performed by: Ariose Women's Choir, Marilyn Kerley, conductor;
Performed by: The Bach Children's Chorus Chamber Youth Choir (Toronto) (TTBB), Linda Beaupre, conductor
Performed by: The Connecticut Choral Artists (SATB), Richard Coffey, conductor
Notes: Winner of the ACCC 1999-2000 Composition Competition and sung for the first time by Canada's National Youth Choir, at the Winspear Centre for Music in Edmonton, conducted by Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death. Amen.
Performed by: Ariose Women's Choir, Dr. Marilyn Kerley, conductor from Joy Shall Be Yours, 2001
Rollin Smith's review of Ave Maria appeared in the January, 2005 issue of The American Organist:
"Allan Bevan is an extremely talented composer of ravishing sacred choral music in a traditional style. This Ave Maria won first prize in the equal voices category of the 1999-2000 Association of Canadian Choral Conductors Associated Publishers Composition Competition, and if your choir can’t sing it you should hire two good sopranos to perform it just so your congregation can hear something as beautiful as this. The two soloists rest after the first eight measures while the two-part trebles continue. Then the soloists sing to the end, and the “choir” only joins with them to provide harmony for the last three measures. The piece could be sung by a two-part choir or just two soloists. This is beyond recommended".
Notes: Composed and first performed in 1994, this arrangement is a setting of three verses of the original Canadian Christmas carol, as translated by Jesse Edgar Middleton, a journalist and choral singer who lived in both Toronto and Montreal. Brebeuf's verses were in Algonquian, while Middleton made his translation from an earlier version in French. St. Jean de Brebeuf wrote the carol in 1643 as part of his mission to the Hurons.
'Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled, That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead; Before their light the braves drew nigh, The angel song rang loud and high:
Jesus, your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria.
Within a lodge of broken bark the tender babe was found. A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped his beauty round; But as the hunter braves drew nigh, The angel song rang loud and high:
O children of the forest free, On sons of Manitou, The holy child is born this day for you. Come, kneel before the radiant boy, Who brings you beauty, peace, and joy:
Performed by: Spiritus Chamber Choir, Dr. Timothy Shantz, conductor
Performed by: AccordEnsemble
Performed by: Heruvymy Ukrainian Female Quartet from: And On Earth Peace