We Dare You to Listen to This ‘Ave Maria’ and Not Laugh

Friday, March 03, 2017 - 11:39 AM

The otamatone, a thing of beauty. The otamatone, a thing of beauty. (Michael Thomas Connolly / Youtube)

It’s the grandest and most beautiful music you’ve ever heard: Schubert’s angelic “Ave Maria” played on the majestic otamatone.

The electronic instrument will remind you in some ways of the theremin. It’s shaped like a musical eighth note, and sound is produced by squeezing the note head. Pitch is altered by sliding your hand along the stem. The resulting effect is a comically sincere wail, and it doesn’t hurt that the instrument looks so goofily adorable. In fact, here’s Q2 very own Hannis Brown shredding on the otamatone he received for Christmas:

@marissrosenblum is gonna totally regret getting me this. #otamatone

A post shared by Hannis Brown (@quietguynoises) on

And now for Franz Schubert’s “Ellens Gesang III” (Ave Maria), D. 839, as played by Michael Connolly on otamatone. It’s something, for sure.

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Comments [6]

kayk from Morristown, NJ

Even the original lyrics are a prayer to the Blessed Virgin, so it is meant to be a reverential hymn. The Fantasia version, with is own original lyrics, was respectful and solemn. Of course, today, probably 99.9% of the people who have heard this music associate it with the "Hail, Mary." I find this clip to be disrespectful (as well as more than a bit annoying).

Mar. 21 2017 05:53 PM
A. Martinez from nyc

I admit I laughed but I am also struck once again by the greater license allowed when it comes to Christianity in comparison to other religions. Interesting that we are allowed to laugh at some groups and not others. If I had my "druthers," we'd all learn to laugh at ourselves.But it does seen that, as the Orwell says, "some animals are more equal than others."

Mar. 17 2017 11:00 AM
Monk from UWS

Not funny. Too long. Like watching your neighbor's child at a school recital.

Mar. 16 2017 09:49 PM
Dina Gutierrez from White Plains, NY

I completely agree with Thomas J. Smith's comment. This is in poor taste and highly offensive.

Mar. 16 2017 05:32 PM
Gev from Ocean Grove

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking this is the Catholic Rosary "Ave Maria." It's not. It's a translation from Sir Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake, and the title Schubert used was Ellens Gesang--Ellens' Song, an evening prayer sung by Ellen Douglas, the Lady of the Lake. (The third of Ellen's songs, by the way.) Unfortunately, Ellen's Song was hijacked for a sentimental section of Disney's "Fantasia" in 1940. How people view the Lied now is how they were trained to see it throughout the 20th century, not as it was originally intended.

Mar. 15 2017 01:12 PM
Thomas J Smith from Matawan, NJ

I think this is in very bad taste. This is a religious hymn and to parody it to get a laugh is insulting. If the main point was to get a laugh why not use a show tune?

Mar. 15 2017 10:47 AM

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