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“Ave Maria” Acapella: The Sublime In a Stairwell

Photo credit: the urban music scene

A work of A work of artistic genius can feel immune to the passage of years. But for works meant to be performed, “timeless” does not Mean “static.” This stairwell recording of Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” by four gifted young Texans, imbues new life and grace into a song loved round the world.

Planet Earth can be a woefully sectarian place, but music—even music sacred to a certain religion or culture—has a way of proliferating far beyond its origins and becoming dear to people around the world. You don’t have to be a Muslim to feel a thrill when a sublime voice calls out the Adhan at sunset. You don’t need to understand Zulu to sway to the magic of a South African vocal ensemble. And of course, you don’t need to be Christian to feel the beauty of “Ave Maria” deep in your bones.

Since its debut in 1825, Franz Schubert’s prayer-song has been covered in hundreds of ways and performed by millions of singers. Its very simplicity is part of its strength. While literally a straightforward adoration of the Virgin Mary, the sincerity of its yearning touches something timeless and universal in us.

One of the most beautiful renditions in recent times is our feature today. The acapella group Kings Return began in 2016 as a purely Gospel project by four Dallas friends. Now they’re branching into pop, blues, soul, and classical performances as well—but they’ve held on tight to their roots in the Christian faith. Whatever your beliefs or musical preferences, we think you’ll feel the peace, strength and beauty of their “Ave Maria.” Enjoy!

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