#BOTB: Christmas Battle: Ave Maria

Today’s battle isn’t so much of a battle of the bands as it is a battle of the vocalists. 

I’m doing my darndest to get in the Holiday spirit, and I really wanted this battle to have a bit of a Holiday feel to it.  I consulted with a friend or two, and I think that you’ll be pleased with today’s battle.

As a reminder for you seasoned readers and to help out those of you who may be new here

Here is how a battle works:

Step One - Listen to each of the contenders. TRY not to be persuaded by the videos

Step Two - Pick  the contender that you prefer the most (not just the one with the name you are familiar with) Pick ONLY from the contenders provided in THIS battle.

Step Three - Comment  with your selection. The comment section has been set up so that anyone can leave a comment. I do ask that you please include your name, should you use the anonymous feature.

Step Four - Visit Stephen’s blog to check out his battle and for a list of other bloggers that have battles going on. We each have different battles, so please be sure to visit everyone. I'll provide a link below the videos to Stephen's blog for your convenience.

Wikipedia tells us this about the song:

"Ellens dritter Gesang" ("Ellens Gesang III", D. 839, Op. 52, No. 6, 1825), in English: "Ellen's Third Song", was composed by Franz Schubert in 1825 as part of his Op. 52, a setting of seven songs from Walter Scott's popular epic poem The Lady of the Lake, loosely translated into German.

It is one of Schubert's most popular works, performed and recorded by many singers under the title "Ave Maria" (the Latin name of the prayer Hail Mary, and also the opening words and refrain of Ellen's song, a song which is itself a prayer to the Virgin Mary), in arrangements with various lyrics which commonly differ from the original context of the poem. It was arranged in three versions for piano by Franz Liszt

Now that we’ve got the formalities out of the way, let’s get to it!

Contender #1 -  Barbara Bonney

Contender #2 - Andrea Bocelli

Now, to repeat myself:

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE FAMILIAR WITH AN ARTIST OR A SONG TO KNOW WHICH ONE YOU PREFER. You only need to listen to the videos and choose which one sounds better to you.  There are no right or wrong votes, unless you vote for someone not listed as a contender or don’t vote at all.

For those of you who may be interested in joining in our fun - The battles take place twice a month. Once on the 1st, and again on the 15th. Some participants have chosen to participate only once a month - and that’s okay - we’re just happy to have you join us! Your battle can consist of covers of the same song, different songs with the same title, or even a themed type battle. We just want you to join in the fun!  Catch the link to Stephen’s blog to join in - all you need to do is drop him a comment on his blog stating you’d like to participate and he’ll add you to the roster of participants.

I’d like to encourage you to visit the other bloggers participating in the battle of the bands blog hop as well.  We’ve all put a lot of time and effort into putting together these battles and they are a lot of fun. Each blogger has a different battle taking place. You can find a current list of participants on Stephen’s blog (don't forget you can also request to join the battle of the bands blog hop by simply commenting on his blog that you'd like to join us). 

Alright now… Cast your votes for either Barbara Bonney or Andrea Bocelli!
Voting will end on Saturday, December 21 with results being posted on Sunday, December 22.


  1. This song really calls for a feminine voice, so I'm going with Barbara Bonney. For a minute, I thought you might pit the Bach-Gounod or the Cesar Franck "Ave" up against Schubert...

  2. Wonderful Battle for Christmas!

    This piece of music is so sublime. And since so many recorded versions exist it would be good for many more rounds of Battle. There are also other compositions under the same name, but Schubert's is my favorite by far.

    I was caught up in a rapturous calmness as I was mesmerized by each of these beautiful versions. Bocelli's version is breathtaking indeed, but somehow to me the simpler delivery by Barbara Bonney seemed more reverent, crystalline, and drawing me to an ethereal peace of mind.

    I vote for Barbara Bonney

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  3. Mary,

    'Ava Maria' is a beautiful classic for the Christmas season! This was an easy battle for me. I by far prefer Andrea Bocelli over the female contender who's vocals are a bit too bright for me to enjoy. Bocelli's smooth, mellow rendition makes my spirit soar with Christmas cheer. Excellent battle, my friend!

  4. You people who are forever trying to interject religious nonsense into Christmas give me a pain! Why can't you just be satisfied with snowflakes, reindeer, Santa, elves, and sleigh rides like the rest of us regular normal people?! Why do we have to keep hearing about ancient fables written by uneducated sheepherders about the big Spaghetti Monster in the sky?!

    Fine! I'll fix yer wagon! Two people can play at this way to skin a cat!

    I vote for Karen Carpenter.

    How you like them taters?

    Ha! OK, seriously now, MMQE...

    This was an absolutely beautiful Battle! I'll confess that normally the "operatic" style of singing is not at all my thing. But this is such a gorgeous song, and both singers are so talented and skillful that their renditions were a joy to listen to. In fact, I listened to both versions 3 times each, just for the enjoyment of it.

    On one hand, I feel that this song is probably more natural or organic when sung by a woman. On the other hand, I tend to prefer male vocalists to female vocalists (with only a few rare exceptions).

    Barbara Bonney - whom I'd never heard of before - is an exceptional singer! But the deeper tone of Andrea Bocelli's voice is automatically more in my wheelhouse, and hokey-smoke, can that guy ever sing!

    I think in terms of skill and talent, these two are probably pretty evenly matched (although, again, I admit to knowing very little about operatic singing), but the male voice wins me over - as it would in the majority of BOTB match-ups.

    Gotta go with BOCELLI, but you did a wonderful job in creating this contest. Very nicely done!

    To you, I wish Season's Greetings and a Happy Holidays. (Oh, OK!! Yeah, I guess a Merry Christmas too, if you insist! ;^)

    ~ D-FensDogG

  5. Oh this is a difficult one. I love Andra but I am going with Bonnie who just seems to fit perfectly. I always prefer the female vocalist over the male when singing this beautiful piece. My favourite is still Rise Stevens version which you can hear here...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbGYiVJ7fFQ. By the way, this is Birgit


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