Ellen's third song

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Franz Schubert
Walter Scott

Ellen's third song (Ellen's song III “Hymne to the Jungfrau”, D  839, Op. 52 No. 6) is an art song by Franz Schubert from 1825.

Ellen's third song. Performed by Dorothea Fayne (vocals) and Uwe Streibel (piano)


Often referred to as Schubert's Ave Maria , the piece is based on Walter Scott's poem The Lady of the Lake . The German translation was done by Adam Storck . Storck's version tells of the girl Ellen Douglas, the Lady of the Lake ("Princess of the Lake"). She hides in a cave with her father to avoid the king's revenge on Roderick Dhu, a clan chief who has been exiled and given her shelter. In desperation, she directs a prayer to the Virgin Mary and asks her for help. It is not heard from Roderick, who is up on the mountain preparing his clan for war.

The opening words and the chorus “Ave Maria” lead, in addition to the Ave Maria by Bach / Gounod, to the frequent use of the song in church services (for example at weddings and funerals). Often the Latin text of the Ave Maria is sung to Schubert's melody instead of the romantic original text.

Position within the cycle

In 1825 Schubert set a selection of seven songs from Scott's The Lady of the Lake to music . They were published in 1826 as his op. 52. The songs are not uniform in their line-up: Ellen's three chants are piano songs for a female voice, the songs of Normans and Count Douglas were intended for the baritone Johann Michael Vogl . The two remaining chants are written for a male and a female ensemble.

  1. Ellen's chant ID 837 “Rest warriors, war is over” / “Soldier rest! the warfare o'er "
  2. Ellens Gesang II D 838 “Hunter, rest from the hunt” / “Huntsman, rest! thy chase is done "
  3. Bootgesang D 835 "Triumph, er nah" / "Hail to the chief" , male quartet (TTBB)
  4. Coronach (funeral song of women and girls) D 836 "He is divorced" / "He is gone to the mountain" , choral song (SSA)
  5. Normans Gesang D 846 "The night will soon fall"
  6. Ellen's Song III (Hymn to the Virgin) D 839 “Ave Maria! Virgin mild! ”/ “ Ave Maria! maiden mild! “ , song for female voice
  7. Song of the captured hunter D 843 "Mein Roß so müd" / "My hawk is tired"

Schubert set the songs to music on the German transcriptions of the texts. With the exception of No. 5, however, the songs were apparently also intended to be published with the original English texts. Adam Storck's free transmission had to be translated and set up according to the music, which was associated with considerable difficulties.

Text of Ellen's third song

Scott's Hymn to the Virgin

Ave Maria! maiden mild!
Oh listen to a maiden's prayer;
For thou canst hear tho 'from the wild,
And Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care
Tho 'banish'd outcast and reviled,
Oh, Maiden hear a maiden's prayer.
Oh mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! undefiled!
The flinty couch we now must share,
Shall seem with down of eider piled
If Thy protection hover there.
The murky cavern's heavy air
Shall breath of Balm if thou hast smiled;   
Then, Maiden hear a maiden's prayer.
Oh mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! stainless-styled!
Foul demons of the earth and air,
From this their wonted haunt exiled,
Shall flee before thy presence fair.
We bow us to our lot of care
Beneath Thy guidance reconciled,
Hear for a maid a maiden's prayer;
And for a father bear a child!
Ave Maria!

Storck's translation

Ave Maria!
Mild virgin, answer a virgin's supplication,
From this rock rigid and wild
Shall my prayer waft towards you.
We sleep safely until morning,
no matter how cruel people are.
O virgin, see the virgin's worries,
O mother, hear a pleading child!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! Immaculate!
When we sink on this rock
to sleep, and your protection covers
us, the hard rock will seem soft to us.
You smile, the scent of roses wafts
In this muffled cliff,
O mother, hear the child's pleading,
O virgin, a virgin calls!
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria! Pure maid!
Demons of earth and air,
Chased away by the grace of your eyes,
They cannot live here with us,
We want to bow quietly to fate,
Since your holy consolation wafts on us;
May you bow down to
the virgin, to the child who pleads for the father.
Ave Maria!

Schubert's piety

On July 25 (28?) 1825, Schubert wrote to father and stepmother from Steyr :

“You are also amazed at my piety , which I express in a hymn to Heil. Virgo and, it seems, seizes all minds and makes devotional ones. I think that is because I never force myself to worship [...] "

Peter Härtling comments on this passage in his Schubert novel as follows:

"With which he inconspicuously but precisely gives the father an answer to innumerable disputes, mostly ending in shouting, about true faith and true piety."

Use in modern media

Ellen's third chant is used in the computer games Rainbow Six: Raven Shield and Hitman - Blood Money . He is also the theme song of the film Hitman - Everyone dies alone .

In the film Free Will there is a longer scene in a church in which Bernadette Büllmann sings Ellen's third song .

Schubert's work can also be found in the classic film Fantasia and can also be heard on the soundtrack, as well as in the cartoon series South Park in episode 2 of season 2.

In the literary film adaptation Christine / L'Amante pura (F / I 1958; based on Arthur Schnitzler's Liebelei ; music: Georges Auric) this song can be heard with orchestral accompaniment (orchestra, singer: unknown). Christine ( Romy Schneider ), a Schubert lover like her father (cello player at the Theater in der Josefstadt ), falls unhappily in love with an uneducated, uncomprehending dragoons ( Alain Delon ): Her fiancé does not even recognize the composer, who is always present as a bust in her young girl's room. Christine sings her prayer during her entrance exam at the KK Hof-Operntheater in Vienna : full of sentimentality, as it were in a gloomy foreboding of the difficult fate of her long-suffering father. This performance marks the climax of Christine's young life, just before her tragic end.


Web links

  1. Arrangement :
  2. Original version :

References and comments

  1. Sir Walter Scott: The Lady of the Lake in Project Gutenberg ( currently not usually available for users from Germany )
  2. According to Ingeb.org .
  3. German , Doc. 299 (see literature )
  4. Härtling sees himself in close proximity to Schubert:
    The title of one of his autobiographical novels is Der Wanderer (see literature ). The poem Des Fremdlings Abendlied ( memento from April 14, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (title based on Schubert's original text: Der Unglückliche ; not to be confused with D 713 ) by Georg Philipp Schmidt (author based on Schubert's original text: Werner; about Zacharias Werner meant?) was set to music by Schubert in 1816 as Der Wanderer (D 493). Schubert's original text, Deinhardstein's poems , is printed and commented on in Chapter 15 of Härtling's Schubert novel (see literature ). The end of said autobiography prints, the “ edited and introduced by Gustav Schwab ” (Härtling: Wanderer, end of chapter 9) following first edition, Wilhelm Müller's cycle of poems Die Winterreise (see literature ).
  5. Härtling: Schubert, Chapter 28 (see literature )
  6. Arthur Schnitzler: Liebelei. Play in three acts in the Gutenberg-DE project
  7. ^ "Violin player at the Josefstädter Theater": Arthur Schnitzler: Liebelei. Play in three acts in the Gutenberg-DE project
  8. Already with Schnitzler: " Fritz (still seated): 'Who is the gentleman there on the stove?' - Christine (instructive): 'That's Schubert.' "Arthur Schnitzler: Liebelei. Second act in the Gutenberg-DE project