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Franz Biebl

Franz Xaver Biebl (1 September 1906 – 2 October 2001) was a German composer of classical music. Most of his compositions were for choral ensembles.

Biebl was born in Pursruck, now part of Freudenberg, Bavaria, in 1906. He studied composition at the Musikhochschule in Munich. Biebl served as Choir Director at the Catholic church of St Maria in München-Thalkirchen from 1932 until 1939, and as an assistant professor of choral music at the Mozarteum, an academy of music in Salzburg, Austria, beginning in 1939, where he taught voice and music theory.

Biebl was drafted into the military beginning in 1943 during World War II. He was a prisoner of war from 1944 to 1946, being detained at Fort Custer in Battle Creek, Michigan. After the war, he moved from Austria to Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany, where he served as director of the town chorus.

Ave Maria

Biebl's best-known work 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.[1] 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.

Program Note

Wilbur Skeels – who published some of Biebl's other works – prepared the following information about the piece for use in choral program notes.[2] All or parts of the information in this note are commonly cited by choirs recording or performing the piece.

Herr Biebl told me that when he was organist/choirmaster and teacher in the Fürstenfeldbruck parish near Munich he had in his church choir a fireman. It was common for companies, factories, police and fire departments, etc. to sponsor an employees' choir, which often would participate in choral competitions and festivals with other similar choirs. This fireman asked Biebl to please compose something for his fireman's choir for such an occasion. The result was the Ave Maria (double male choir version).

The piece gained practically no attention in Germany for many years. However, when Biebl was the head of choral programs for the Bayerischen Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio) he made a habit of inviting American choirs to come to Munich and sing on the radio and with other German choirs. One of these choirs was introduced to his Ave Maria and brought it back to the US, where it became increasingly popular. When Chanticleer recorded it, it became a hit, not only in the US but in Germany too, which now considered the piece must be special as it was such a hit in America! Biebl did arrangements for other voicings, and the seven-part mixed choir arrangement is now probably the most popular.

The text is unique in its conjoining of two sources. The first source is the thrice-daily devotional exercise called the Angelus in the Catholic Church. It is cued by the ringing of the "Angelus" bell, sometimes referred to as the "Peace Bell." It consists of a thrice-repeated "Hail Mary," each with an introductory versicle based on the Gospel, followed by a concluding versicle and prayer.

Here is the first part of the Angelus, the only part that Biebl uses:

Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae The Angel of the Lord announced to Mary

Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto. And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

[Ave Maria, Sancta Maria.] [Hail Mary, Holy Mary.]

Behold the handmaiden of the Lord
Do to me according to your word.
[Hail Mary, Holy Mary.]
And the Word was made flesh
And dwelt among us.
[Hail Mary, Holy Mary]

In place of the 'Ave Maria, Sancta Maria' from the Angelus text, Biebl has substituted the first part of the even more familiar text of the standard 'Ave Maria' prayer [Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum, etc.] and in lieu of the closing versicle and prayer of the 'Angelus' he has substituted the second part of the 'Ave Maria' [Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis, etc.], so that the whole is a hybrid of the two ancient texts.

Instrumental arrangements

The San Francisco Renegades, an all-age Drum and Bugle Corps, first adapted sections of Biebl's Ave Maria in their 2003 show: "Red Skies At Night". In 2005 they played the piece as the opener to their show, "The Days of Future Past". In 2006 the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, an International World Class Corps based in Rockford, Illinois, used the piece in its 2006 field show "Faust," further expanding awareness of Biebl's arrangement. Both drum and bugle corps continue to perform Franz Biebl's Ave Maria as part of their yearly repertoire.

A recent arrangement of the Biebl "Ave Maria" was transcribed by Jerry Brubaker, horn player and arranger for 30 years with the US Navy Band, after hearing the piece sung at a Navy funeral. It has been performed by the Navy Band horn section and the NIH Community Orchestra Horn Club on numerous occasions.

Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps uses Franz Biebl's Ave Maria as their corps song.

Role in First Amendment Litigation

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.[3] The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, but Justice Samuel Alito issued a rare written opinion dissenting from the Court's decision.[4] 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.

  1. Michael Slon, Songs from the Hill – A History of the Cornell University Glee Club.
  2. ChoralNet Forums Archived 2014-12-23 at the Wayback Machine. (visited March 5, 2012). Wilbur Skeels (1938–2011) was a pastor, accompanist, composer, and music publisher who knew Biebl and published some of his works through Skeels' Cantus Quercus Press. See H. Wilbur Skeels online obituary (visited March 5, 2012) and Cantus Quercus Press (visited March 5, 2012 – website now largely defunct, except for downloadable catalog with section on Biebl's works)
  3. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087 (9th Cir. 2009), available at
  4. 130 S. Ct. 1937 (2010), available at
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Franz Biebl


Franz Xaver Biebl (1 September 1906 – 2 October 2001) was a German composer of classical music. Most of his compositions were for choral ensembles. Biebl was born in Pursruck, now part of Freudenberg, Bavaria, in 1906. He studied composition at the Musikhochschule in Munich. Biebl served as Choir Director at the Catholic church of St Maria in München-Thalkirchen from 1932 until 1939, and as an assistant professor of choral music at the Mozarteum, an academy of music in Salzburg, Austria, beginning in 1939, where he taught voice and music theory. Biebl was drafted into the military beginning in 1943 during World War II. He was a prisoner of war from 1944 to 1946, being detained at Fort Custer in Battle Creek, Michigan. After the war, he moved from Austria to Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany, where he served as director of the town chorus. Ave Maria Biebl's best-known work 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 Cornel ...more...

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The Cornell University Glee Club (CUGC) is the oldest student organization at Cornell University , having been organized shortly after the first students arrived on campus in 1868. The CUGC is a sixty-member chorus for male voices, with repertoire including classical , folk , 20th-century music , and traditional Cornell songs . The Glee Club also performs major works with the Cornell University Chorus such as Beethoven's Missa Solemnis , Handel's Messiah , and Bach's Mass in B Minor . Achievements Performances at two American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) conventions as an auditioned choir: the 2008 ACDA Eastern Division Convention in Hartford, CT, and the 2009 ACDA National Convention in Oklahoma City, OK. First American collegiate ensemble to tour the Soviet Union , traveled to the Soviet Union and England from December 1960 to January 1961. Performed for national television and radio on such networks as Television Moscow, BBC , Educational Television Network, Radio Leningrad, Frankfurt Radio Network, ...more...

Speed skating at the 1960 Winter Olympics – Men's 5000 metres


Speed skating at the 1960 Winter Olympics 500 m men women 1000 m women 1500 m men women 3000 m women 5000 m men 10,000 m men The 5000 metres speed skating event was part of the speed skating at the 1960 Winter Olympics programme. The competition was held on the Squaw Valley Olympic Skating Rink and for the first time at the Olympics on artificially frozen ice. It was held on Thursday, February 25, 1960. Thirty-seven speed skaters from 15 nations competed. Medalists Gold Silver Bronze   Viktor Kosichkin   ( URS )   Knut Johannesen   ( NOR )   Jan Pesman   ( NED ) Records These were the standing world and Olympic records (in minutes) prior to the 1960 Winter Olympics. World Record 7:45.6(*) Boris Shilkov Medeo ( URS ) January 9, 1955 Olympic Record 7:48.7(*) Boris Shilkov Cortina d'Ampezzo / Lake Misurina ( ITA ) January 29, 1956 (*) The record was set in a high altitude venue (more than 1000 metres above sea level) and on naturally frozen ice. Results Place Speed skater Time 1   Viktor Kosichkin   ( URS ) 7:51 ...more...

List of 20th-century classical composers


This is a list of composers of 20th-century classical music, sortable by name, year of birth, year of death, nationality, notable works, and remarks. It includes only composers of significant fame and importance. The style of the composer's music is given where possible, bearing in mind that some defy simple classification. Names are listed first by year of birth, then in alphabetical order within each year. Name Year of birth Year of death Nationality Notable 20th-century works Remarks Dancla, CharlesCharles Dancla 1817 1907 French Solo de concours no. 7, Op. 224 Romanticism Arditi, LuigiLuigi Arditi 1822 1903 Italian Kirchner, TheodorTheodor Kirchner 1823 1903 German Reinecke, CarlCarl Reinecke 1824 1910 German Trio for piano, clarinet and horn in B♭, Op. 274; String Quartet No. 5, Op. 287 Romanticism Hol, RichardRichard Hol 1825 1904 Dutch Organ music Romanticism Minkus, LudwigLudwig Minkus 1826 1917 Austrian Eskesen, MortenMorten Eskesen 1826 1913 Danish Gevaert, François-AugusteFrançois-August ...more...

October 2


October 2 is the 275th day of the year (276th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 90 days remaining until the end of the year. This date is slightly more likely to fall on a Tuesday, Friday or Sunday (58 in 400 years each) than on Wednesday or Thursday (57), and slightly less likely to occur on a Monday or Saturday (56). Events 829 – Theophilos succeeds his father Michael II as Byzantine Emperor. 939 – Battle of Andernach: King Otto I crushes a rebellion against his rule, by a coalition of Eberhard of Franconia and other Frankish dukes. 1187 – Siege of Jerusalem: Saladin captures Jerusalem after 88 years of Crusader rule. 1263 – The Battle of Largs is fought between Norwegians and Scots. 1470 – Richard Neville's rebellion forces King Edward IV of England to flee to the Netherlands, restoring Henry VI to the throne. 1528 – William Tyndale, the renowned English Reformer and Bible translator published his famous work The Obedience of a Christian Man. 1535 – Jacques Cartier discovers the ...more...

Czech literature


The Strahov Library Czech literature is the literature written in the Czech language. The earliest literary works written in Czech date to the 14th century. Modern literature may be divided into the periods of national awakening in the 19th century; the avantgarde of the interwar period; the years under Communism and the Prague Spring; and the literature of the post-Communist Czech Republic. In another meaning of the term,, "Czech literature" may refer to "literature written by Czechs" regardless of language, including works in Old Church Slavonic, Middle Latin or German. Middle Latin works A writer and historian Cosmas Bohemia was Christianized in the late 9th to 10th centuries, and the earliest written works associated with the kingdom of Bohemia are Middle Latin works written in the 12th to 13th centuries (with the exception of the Latin Legend of Christian, supposedly of the 10th century but of dubious authenticity). The majority of works from this period are chronicles and hagiographies. B ...more...

September 1


September 1 is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 121 days remaining until the end of the year. This date is slightly more likely to fall on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday (58 in 400 years each) than on Sunday or Monday (57), and slightly less likely to occur on a Wednesday or Friday (56). Events 1355 – King Tvrtko I of Bosnia writes In castro nostro Vizoka vocatum from the Old town of Visoki. 1449 – Tumu Crisis: Mongols capture the Emperor of China. 1529 – The Spanish fort of Sancti Spiritu, the first one built in modern Argentina, is destroyed by natives. 1532 – Lady Anne Boleyn is made Marquess of Pembroke by her fiancé, King Henry VIII of England. 1604 – Adi Granth, now known as Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhs, was first installed at Harmandir Sahib. 1644 – Battle of Tippermuir: James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose defeats the Earl of Wemyss's Covenanters, reviving the Royalist cause. 1715 – King Louis XIV of France dies after a ...more...

Vinetastraße (Berlin U-Bahn)


Platform, Vinetastraße U-Bahn station Vinetastraße is a Berlin U-Bahn station in the Pankow district, located on the U2 . It was opened in 1930, and for decades was the northern terminus of the U2, until the line was extended to the Pankow S-Bahn station in 2000. Etymology This station is named after the legendary town of Vineta on the Baltic Sea. History In 1913, the Hochbahngesellschaft, the private operating company of the Berlin Hoch- und Untergrundbahn, extended the section of the so-called "Centrum Line" from the Spittelmarkt on 1 July 1913 to Alexanderplatz and shortly thereafter to the Nordring station, today Schönhauser Allee , Although there was a connection to the tram in the direction of Pankow at Nordring station, the town of Pankow was not satisfied with it. Already in 1905, shortly after the opening of the elevated and underground railway, between Warsaw Bridge, Potsdamer Platz and Zoologischer Garten, it demanded a route to the center of Pankow. Nordring station itself was constructed above gr ...more...

1982 Star World Championships


The 1982 Star World Championships were held in Medemblik , Netherlands in 1982. Results Results of individual races Pos Crew Country I II III IV V VI Pts Gorostegui, Antonio Antonio Gorostegui  ( H ) José Doreste   Spain 12 1 13 3 1 3 29.4 Hagen, Alexander Alexander Hagen  ( H ) Vincent Hoesch   West Germany 1 4 7 18 YMP 9 45 Buchan, Jr., Bill Bill Buchan, Jr.  ( H ) Steve Erickson   United States 3 13 PMS 7 3 7 56.4 4 Wrede, Jens-Peter Jens-Peter Wrede  ( H ) Matthias Borowy   West Germany 4 6 4 28 11 11 61.7 5 Menkart, Andrew Andrew Menkart  ( H ) Steve Calder   United States 5 14 14 5 9 4 63 6 Douze, Kees Kees Douze  ( H ) Willem Nagel   Netherlands 16 2 2 14 37 14 68 7 Griese, Joachim Joachim Griese  ( H ) Jurgen Homeyer   West Germany 14 17 9 8 2 12 70 8 Christensen, Jens Jens Christensen  ( H ) Morten Nielsen   Denmark 2 15 18 8 18 5 72 9 Wright, Peter Peter Wright  ( H ) Todd Cozzens   United States 13 7 3 13 19 - 81.7 10 Bate, Colin Colin Bate  ( H ) Phil Baker   Australia 20 12 36 2 4 25 86 11 Schwar ...more...

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