I love composers who love Mary. So I suppose my long-standing affection for the music of Morten Lauridsen should come as no surprise.
Mr. Lauridsen, who has been described by musicologist Nick Strimple as "the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic" and who often spends his summers composing in seclusion on Waldron Island in Washington, has made no secret about his attachment to the Blessed Mother. He has written at length about the importance of Mary in his most famous work, O Magnum Mysterium. And then there's the testimony of my favorite Lauridsen anecdote, recounted a few years back by music critic Robert Reilly (and from whence comes this post title):
Also on this CD is an exquisitely beautiful and moving Ave Maria. I have seldom encountered anything so suffused with love for Mary. When I asked Lauridsen, a Protestant, about this, he responded, “I don’t have to belong to the Catholic Church to be in love with Mary.”
The piece in question, performed by the incomparable Los Angeles Master Chorale.