A&M Records

Oct 07 1997

A Very Special Christmas 3 is the third installation of the holiday-oriented benefit series, with all profits from sales going to the Special Olympics. This year's version includes the first track released by Chris Cornell since Soundgarden disbanded on April 9, 1997. An audio clip and the track list follow:

[AUDIO] Chris Cornell with Eleven: "Ave Maria"
[AU: 52s, 8-bit, 11kHz, mono, 0.5MB]
  1. Sting - I Saw Three Ships
  2. Smashing Pumpkins - Christmas
  3. Rev Run & the Christmas All Stars - Santa Baby
  4. No Doubt - Oi To The World
  5. Sheryl Crow - Blue Christmas
  6. Blues Traveler - Christmas
  7. Enya - Oiche Chiun (Silent Night)
  8. Hootie & The Blowfish - The Christmas Song
  9. Chris Cornell with Eleven - Ave Maria
  10. Mary J. Blige featuring Angie Martinez - Christmas In The City
  11. Jonny Lang - Santa Claus Is Back In Town
  12. Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - Christmas Song
  13. Steve Winwood - Christmas Is Now Drawing Near At Hand
  14. Tracy Chapman - O Holy Night
  15. Patti Smith - We Three Kings

This version of the "Ave Maria" text is not the traditional Catholic prayer (Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum...), but an excerpt from Sir Walter Scott's poem "The Lady of the Lake." The tune that Chris Cornell chose was originally composed by Franz Schubert (1797-1828), who used the first two verses of the text below translated into German by Adolf Storck. However, Cornell performed it in its original English (though not in Old English as was publicized; it's in Elizabethan English) and the recording is something akin to a duet between Cornell and Eleven's Natasha. Executive producer Linda Feder was quoted as saying, "They felt very strongly about wanting to do a traditional song, a classical piece, something that might turn young people onto classical music."

The English text included in Cornell's version is below; the first two stanzas were used by Schubert:

1. Ave Maria! Maiden mild!
O listen to a maiden's prayer!
For thou canst hear though from the wild
Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,
Tho' banish'd, outcast, and reviled;
O Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer -
O Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria!
  3. Ave Maria! stainless styled!
Foul demons of the earth and air
From this their wonted haunt exiled
Shall fee 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 hear a child!
Ave Maria!
2. 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 breathe of balm if thou hast smiled;
Then, Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer;
O Mother, list a suppliant child!
Ave Maria!

Good graphics and a RealAudio clip are available at A Very Special Web Site.