Ave Verum Corpus

Ave Verum Corpus
(Hail, True Body)
A Motet for SATB Chorus, divisi, a cappella
Dan Locklair

My motet for a cappella SATB chorus, Ave Verum Corpus (Hail, True Body), was composed in the autumn of 2010. It is warmly dedicated to my former Wake Forest University student – now colleague and friend – Andrew Clark, in celebration of his first academic year (2010-2011) as Director of Choral Activities at Harvard University.

The authorship of the medieval poem, Ave Verum, is unknown. Some sources attribute it to, among others, Pope Innocent V (d. 1276) and others to Pope Innocent VI (who served as pope from 1352-1362). No matter who created it, the words of this poignant hymn have long been a vital part of the liturgical season of Lent and Eucharistic Celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church. In my motet based on this traditional Latin text, I have included a singing English translation. Whether sung in Latin or in English, my Ave Verum Corpus (Hail, True Body) seeks to capture both the lyrical sadness and the radiant Hope expressed in these poignant and enduring words.

Dan Locklair
15 November 2010
Winston-Salem, NC
Duration : ca. 3’ 30”

Latin text*:

Ave verum Corpus natum
De Maria Virgine,
Vere passum, immolatum
In Cruce pro homine,
Cuius latus perforatum
Vero fluxit et sanguine,
Esto nobis praegustatum,
Mortis in examine.
O clemens, O pie,
O dulcis Jesu, Fili Mariae.

English translation*:

Hail, true Body, truly born
Of the Virgin Mary mild,
Truly offered, racked and torn,
On the Cross, for man defiled,
From whose love-pierced, sacred side
Flowed Thy true Blood’s saving tide:
Be a foretaste sweet to me
In my death’s great agony.
O Thou loving, gentle One,
Sweetest Jesus, Mary’s son.

*Latin text and translation from Hymns of the Breviary and Missal (1922).