SSATB; optional str (or 2vn, va, vc, db)
Composers have composed the Ave Verum Corpus text for generations. This setting was written for the Emmanuel Choir, Boston, who gave the first performance, under Craig Smith, of the version for five-part a cappella chorus. A second version, which adds string orchestra, was first heard at the 1991 Ojai Festival, the Los Angeles Masterchorale and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra performing.
While some composers have chosen a reverential, even beatific calm for these timeless works, this piece chooses instead a mode of direct address-- a dramatic scene in which the singers are both witnesses and interpreters.
Translation: Hail true body, born of the Virgin Mary which suffered immolation on the cross in behalf of mankind, from whose perforated side flowed blood. Be for us a consolation at the moment of death. O sweet, O virtuous Jesus Son of Mary, have mercy on me.
-- John Harbison