1791 Mozart: Ave verum corpus

THURSDAY, November 12, 2020 – 10:47 AM

Ave verum corpus, age 35

It is a motet in D major composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1791. It is a setting of the Latin hymn Ave verum corpus. Mozart wrote it for Anton Stoll, a friend who was the church musician of St. Stephan in Baden bei Wien. The motet was composed for the feast of Corpus Christi; the autograph is dated 17 June 1791. It is scored for SATB choir, string instruments and organ.

Instrumentation:

  • Organ
  • strings
  • SATB choir

Mozart only lived another six months. I will never write about this music, because to me it is sacred. It is less than two and a half minutes long and to me is one of the most profound pieces of music to me. I am not in the least religious, but I can’t hear this music without thinking that if ever a piece of music was truly Godly, this is it.

 

3 thoughts on “1791 Mozart: Ave verum corpus

  1. I think it’s all in the melody and harmonizing of the voices. I think that’s the secret sauce to Mozart’s music, but more so in his sacred music.

    But to be fair, the two do cross over, an aria in Figaro got recycled as a sacred piece, — or the other way around. I forgot how it went.

  2. This music is very close to my heart, and you have described it beautifully. I was in a quite amateur choir that loved to get together to sing. On anyone’s birthday, that person got to choose something for us all to sing, and was allowed to “conduct”. Often it was the Ave Verum. I chose it on my birthday. I had only heard it as part of the choir, over with the sopranos. It is totally different when you are in the conductor’s place, with all the voices coming at you. Even with untrained voices as we were, it was a moving experience. I don’t know what Mozart did, to make it what it is.

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