About Franz Biebl’s”Ave Maria”
Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria is a sacred choral music piece with a sophisticated chord structure and the ability to inspire genuine emotion from deep within one’s being. It is a masterpiece of absolute grandeur.
Penned in the late 1950’s and first published in 1964, Biebl’s arrangement is composed for large four-part choirs, three-part chorus that can be performed by soloists, and double choirs. Biebl’s “Ave Maria” was initially written for a men’s chorus (TB/TTB/TTBB) and later also crafted arrangements for mixed choir and women’s choir (SATB, SATB Divisi, SA/SSA/SSAA).
The opening verses of the Latin Catholic Angelus prayer, which is based on three verses from the Bible, are presented here with the refrain as “Ave Maria” (Hail Mary). In the first part of the prayer, Biebl’s composition includes the benediction of Mary and the child of her womb, Jesus. The second part of the prayer is delivered as a conclusion, asking for Mary’s interposition.
The masterful “Ave Maria” compositions of Caccini, Bach/Gounod, and Schubert are definitive treasures crafted for solo voices and are exceptional in their beauty. The “Ave Maria” by Franz Biebl at times calls for 8-part divisi, features imposingly deep and full chords, and is a pleasant fusion of traditional and contemporary harmonies.
Released in 1985 by Hinshaw in the US, Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria” quickly rose to the top of the best-selling list and gained immense notoriety when the San Francisco-based ensemble Chanticleer incorporated this stunning 20th-century work into their regular repertoire.
Fairly difficult, but exquisite, available in three voicings
This one is for men’s chorus (TTB Trio/TTBB). HMC1251 is for mixed voices (SAATTBB). HMC1255 is for mixed voices (SATB or Trio/SATB).
About The Composer, Franz Biebl
German composer Franz Xaver Biebl (1906–2001) produced more than 2000 works of classical music, simple part-songs and folk song arrangements of which the majority were for choirs. He obtained his Master of Music degrees in composition and choral conducting from the State Music Academy in Munich after completing his music studies at the Humanistic Gymnasium in Amberg.
Following the consummation of his music studies, Biebl was hired as the choir director for a parish church in a Munich neighborhood. Later, in Salzburg, Austria’s Mozarteum’s Musikhochschule and Jugendmusikschule, appointed him Lecturer of Music Theory and Choral Singing. He taught music for seven years there until his career was abruptly paused. Biebl was drafted into the military in 1943, where served as a soldier and prisoner of war until 1946. Shortly after the conclusion of WWII and his time spent in a POW camp, Biebl took a position as the choir director at the parish church of St. Magdalena in Fürstenfeldbruck where he remained for eleven years.
He produced music as a consultant for the Bavarian State Radio while he was at St. Magdalena, and in 1959, Bayerische Rundfunk invited him to form a choral department. Biebl supported regional choral organizations throughout Germany and he relentlessly labored to populate the station’s archives with well-known choral music.
Throughout his career, Franz Biebl continued to practice his professions of teaching and writing music. He worked extensively as a composer to increase the repertory of German folk songs by creating a great many arrangements for various choral ensembles. His unquestionably most accomplished and well-known composition, a complex six-minute arrangement of a frequently used liturgical text, “Ave Maria,” will no doubt be cherished for generations to come.
What is the Latin Catholic Angelus prayer?
The Angelus is a brief Catholic devotional prayer that honors Christ’s incarnation. Typically recited three times a day in convents, monasteries and Roman Catholic churches, the devotion is practiced by reciting short biblical verses that are said or sung and a triple response or repetition of the Hail Mary. It is customary for the Angelus to be accompanied by the striking of the Angelus bell, which is a summons to prayer and kindness toward all.
Ave Maria Latin Text
Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae
et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Ecce ancilla Domini
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Ave Maria …
Et verbum caro factum est
Et habitavit in nobis.
Ave Maria …
Sancta Maria, mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus.
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.
Ave Maria English Text
The Angel of the Lord announced to Mary
And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Behold the handmaiden of the Lord.
Do to me according to your word.
Hail Mary …
And the Word was made flesh
And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary …
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
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