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Ave Maria (Ross)

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Franz Biebl

Franz Biebl (ed. John Stanley Ross and Elaine M. Ross)

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General Info

Year: 1964
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Unknown

Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Most of Biebl's compositions were for choral ensembles. His best-known is his Ave Maria (1964), which sets portions of the Angelus as well as the Ave Maria. The piece was brought to the United States by the Cornell University Glee Club in 1970. The ensemble met Biebl while on tour in Germany, during a recording session at a radio network where Biebl was music director. Conductor Thomas A. Sokol was given a number of Biebl's works, premiering them after returning home. The Ave Maria quickly gained popularity, most notably after becoming part of the repertoire of Chanticleer. Although it was originally scored for male voices, after Ave Maria became popular the composer himself rearranged the piece for SATB and SSA choirs as well.

In 2009–10, an arrangement of the Ave Maria for wind ensemble was the subject of litigation that reached the United States Supreme Court. 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. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the school district's actions. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, but Justice Samuel Alito issued a rare written opinion dissenting from the Court's decision. In a footnote, Alito described Biebl's setting of the Ave Maria text as "relatively obscure" in comparison to settings by Franz Schubert, Charles Gounod, and other more well-known composers.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Dr. John Stanley Ross [director of bands at Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.] created this wind band setting of Biebl’s original score. His inspiration came while he was pursuing his master’s degree in wind conducting at the University of Michigan and singing in the Michigan Men’s Glee Club. During his first rehearsal with the ensemble, he had the privilege of singing Biebl’s original version. The music moved him to the point of tears, and this was the moment when he knew that he needed to take those same notes and tailor them for wind ensemble.

- Program Note from Appalachian State University Wind Ensemble concert program, 23 November 2015


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Concert Band (John Stanley Ross, conductor) – 25 April 2018
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Wind Ensemble (Matthew Brusseau, conductor) – 23 November 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer