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.
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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. I never had the slightest idea about this, and I used to teach American history. Apparently as the war went on the prison facilities in Europe and Britain became too crowded, so as many a half a million captured soldiers were shipped to America. The prisoners were treated well and put to work, mainly on farms, thus helping to fill the labor gap caused by so many American soldiers leaving the workforce.
This was not forced slave labor; they were paid. So Biebl served his time until , when he returned to Germany and took up the post of choral director in the aforementioned hard-to-pronounce town. We are told that: He had in his church choir a fireman. It was common for companies, factories, police and fire departments, etc. The result was the Ave Maria double male choir version. Think of all the fun it is to be a part of a performance! Biebl had moved on by this time to directing choral programs for Bavarian Radio, and he made it a practice to invite American choirs to perform in that venue.
Why did Biebl do this? Was it because he had such good memories of being a POW in America? But anyway, the glee club started performing the piece when they got back home, its popularity started spreading, and then the group Chanticleer recorded it. On to the marching bands. Why on earth would this slow, stately piece be a favorite for those groups? I honestly do not know. There are some fairly high-end groups that play it as part of their regular repertoire.
I think it must be one of those things where someone heard the piece and liked it, had some influence with a group, managed to get it on a program, and it took off from there.
It was then referred to the Supreme Court, but they declined to hear the case. Then a video by a marching band. If someone wants to spend quite a bit of time scrolling through YouTube, you can probably find one. I did find this on-the-field rehearsal that has pretty good audio: Share this
The Fascinating Backstory on Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria”
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