One of the joys (not) of running the Bachtrack website is the need to constantly keep cleaning the data. We try really hard to make sure that the lists of composers and works are in a consistent format, and as complete and accurate as we can make them, at least for the major composers. This results in tasks like this afternoon's effort of running through the thousand or so compositions by Schubert (extraordinary, given that he died aged just 31) trying to knock out all the duplicates and misspellings.

In the middle of this particularly tedious part of the job, one occasionally comes across some weird and wonderfuls. One of Schubert's very popular pieces is his setting of "Ave Maria", which I couldn't find anywhere in the official catalogues of his work. Turning to Wikipedia as usual, the answer turns out to be this:

The Schubert music is most often played these days to the words of the Ave Maria from the Latin mass. However, that's not the way Schubert intended it. The work is actually called "Ellens dritter Gesang" (Ellen's third song), and is a setting of a song from Sir Walter Scott's "The Lady of the Lake", which just happens to start with the words "Ave Maria". Some bright spark at some point decided to try it with the rest of the Latin prayer (probably an improvement - the Scott original is almost unbearably slushy to non-Victorian ears), and the idea obviously stuck!

The Schubertiade Festival's officially approved title is "Ellens Gesang III Hymne an die Jungfrau (Ave Maria)(Scott) D 839 (1825)". I think I'd better just leave it at "Ave Maria"...