THINK MANY OF OUR READERS would enjoy listening to this Chinese setting of Ave Maria by Mons. Anthony Chi-Ming Lau. Mons. Lau was born in Guangzhou, China, in 1938. He received his musical training in Macau and Rome (Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music), and he now lived in Taiwan. Mons. Lau composed a large body of hymns and sacred pieces in Chinese.
In the video, you will hear this piece sung in Cantonese, which is the mother tongue of Mons. Lau. Both Eastern and Western musical elements can be found in this piece. The first half of the “Hail Mary” is written based on the Chinese modality and the second half of the prayer is set to a fugue in the Western style. I was quite amazed by this work when I first heard it two years ago.
This video was recorded live at a special Choral Evensong service held at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady, Macau. At the invitation of the cathedral parish, my choir sang this piece as a choral prelude with the Cathedral Schola of Macau. The Evensong was then sung by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Another video recorded from a few more different angles can be found on Vox Antiqua’s Facebook page.
A PDF of this piece (in Latin) can be downloaded on the website of the Sacred Music Commission of the Diocese of Hong Kong.