Live recording: 8 sep. 2010
Ave verum corpus is a motet in D, written by Mozart for Anton Stoll, a friend of his and Joseph Haydn. Stoll was the musical coordinator in the parish of Baden bei Wien, near Vienna. This setting of the Ave verum corpus text was composed to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi; the autograph is dated 17 June 1791. It is only forty-six bars long and is scored for SATB choir, string instruments, and organ. Mozart’s manuscript itself contains minimal directions, with only a single sotto voce at the beginning.
Mozart composed this motet while in the middle of writing his opera Die Zauberflöte, and while visiting his wife Constanze, who was pregnant with their sixth child and staying in a spa near Baden. It was fewer than six months before Mozart’s death. The motet foreshadows “aspects of the Requiem such as declamatory gesture, textures, and integration of forward- and backward-looking stylistic elements.”
Franz Liszt quotes Mozart’s motet in the piano piece Evocation à la Chapelle Sixtine. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky incorporates an orchestration of Liszt’s transcription in his fourth orchestral suite, Mozartiana, Op. 61.