Ave verum Corpus by Josquin des Prez (1440-1521). Edited by Ralph W. Buxton. For SAT(B) choir a cappella. Liturgical Use: Communion; Feasts of the Blessed Sacrament. Text: Latin. Choral. Vocal score. Text Language: Latin. Duration ca. 8 minutes. Published by Notre Dame Choir Editions (PE.NDC001).
With Text Language: Latin. Choral.
Josquin's celebrated 3 voice setting of the traditional Gregorian communion hymn (Liber Usualis, p.1856) paraphrases the chant in the middle voice. Verses 1 & 3 of the hymn are duos that unfold as single long-breathed phrases. Verses 2 & 4 repeat the music of the first 2 verses with the addition of flowing counterpoint in the added 3rd voice making up delicate trio passages. The 5th verse provides a suitable culmination for all three voices as they join for the final supplication: O dulcis! O pie! O Jesu fili Virginis Mariae. The song-like intimacy of this setting and its quiet spritual intensity reflects Josquin's northern heritage while its bright scoring and clear-cut phrasing suggests the influence of the time he spent in Italy.