I assumed a common action for me that Franz Biebl was someone who lived several hundred years ago, as the music has a very old-ish feel to me. And it certainly would never have occurred to me that: 1 the piece has become a favorite of brass bands, particularly marching bands, and 2 the piece was the subject of a lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. Biebl was by no means a Classical or Romantic composer: he died in Let me see if I can untangle things a bit. Yes, you read that correctly.

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Biebl wrote small, solidly constructed, highly inventive works primarily for church and community choruses. The true part is that his work consists mainly of songs and smaller compositions.

His formal music studies began in at the Musikhochschule in Munich, where he studied composition and conducting. He began his career as a church musician in at a large Catholic parish, and in was appointed as assistant professor of choral music at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

World War II intervened. Drafted into the German army in , Biebl and his unit were captured by American forces in Italy in I learned to know the Americans and a little bit of American life and democracy. We got enough to eat. Good food, just like the American soldiers had. I was allowed to arrange a choir and songs for it. The Americans helped me to arrange concerts with choir, soloists and chamber music. As director, he met and recorded many choirs from around the world, including the Cornell Glee Club, which brought the Ave Maria and some of his other pieces back to the United States for performance.

A member there had asked Biebel whether he would compose a piece for a chorus of his coworkers. Biebl agreed — and wrote the original Ave Maria for a double chorus of firemen. The work was made internationally famous by a Chanticleer recording several decades later, and is now available in many editions for a variety of vocal ensembles. The Angelus includes three versicles, each followed an Ave Maria. Biebl chose to withhold the second part of the Ave Maria — the plea for Mary to pray for us now and in the hour of our death — until the end of the work.

Chorus Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus. Chorus Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. You are blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Tenor solo Maria dixit: Ecce ancilla Domini.

Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. Et verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis. Tenor solo Mary said: Behold the handmaiden of the Lord.

Let it be done to me according to your word. And the word was made flesh and lived among us. Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus. Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us not and in the hour of our death.

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The Fascinating Backstory on Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria”

Mar The result vae the Ave Maria double male choir version. The ensemble met Biebl while on tour in Germany, during a recording session at a radio network where Biebl was music director. The text is unique in its conjoining of biebo sources. Most of his compositions were for choral ensembles. Biebl was drafted into the military beginning in during World War II. At issue was whether a school district was justified in prohibiting an instrumental performance of the piece without lyrics at a high school graduation ceremony due to its underlying religious nature. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Franz Biebl







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