Ave Maria


Ave Maria by Bach/Gounod is a popular setting of the well-used Latin text and was originally published in 1853 as Méditation sur le Premier Prélude de Piano de S. Bach. The piece consists of a melody by the French Romantic composer Charles Gounod that he superimposed over a very slightly changed version of the Prelude No. 1 in C major from J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, written 137 years earlier. Gounod improvised the melody, and his future father-in-law Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmermann transcribed the improvisation and in 1853 made an arrangement for violin (or cello) with piano and harmonium. In 1859 the setting was published with the familiar Latin text.

This arrangement features the tenor horn and was commissioned for Sheona White and the Brighouse and Rastrick Band to perform at the 2017 Brass in Concert Championships by their conductor Dr David Thornton, at which Sheona won the prize for best tenor horn. It was subsequently adapted into versions for B flat solo instruments (euphonium, tenor trombone or baritone) and with percussion accompaniment only.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. Bach’s compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and over three hundred cantatas of which approximately two hundred survive. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth. Bach’s abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

Charles-François Gounod (1818 – 1893) was a French composer, best known for his Grand Operas, most famously ‘Faust’, written in 1859 and his ‘St Cecilia Mass’ written in 1854. However possibly his most performed work is his arrangement of the latin text Ave Maria based on a work by Bach.

You can listen to a computer realisation of the score while following the music below:

Performance Notes

Performances of this arrangement should use EITHER vibraphone or marimba, NOT both – this is at the conductor’s discretion depending on the availability of instruments and the ability of the player.

All accompanying brass players require cup mutes; however given the sparse nature of the scoring, muting is at the discretion of the conductor depending on the acoustics of the performance space.

There is an optional cut from bars 33-47, to be made at the discretion of the soloist (this is a reprise not in the Gounod original and is there mainly to allow the soloist a brief rest before the conclusion of the piece).

Additional information

Weight 0.100 kg
Dimensions 29.7 × 21 × 0.5 cm

PDF Download ONLY, Printed Parts


Tenor Horn, Euph/Trom/Bari


Brass Ensemble and Percussion, Percussion only, Piano


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