for upper voices (two parts) & piano
Text: Latin (14th century, attributed to Pope Innocent VI)
The 14th-century Eucharistic text ‘Ave verum’ has been set to music by many composers over the centuries, no doubt drawn to its vivid and powerful imagery. I first set the words (for SATB choir) for Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School in 2001, but this different setting is the fourth movement of a larger work, Songs of Peace, which was written in 2012 in memory of my mother Iris Todd. The melodic shape should be enjoyed and the larger leaps smoothly joined, rather than separated. When the piece splits into two parts, the melody should come through the texture with the descant floating on top and interweaving, but not obstructing. The occasional optional divisi will add extra harmonic effects if included.
Other movements from Songs of Peace available separately include Precious Moment (SA & piano/organ) and Requiem (SATB div & piano). Complete vocal scores of Songs of Peace are available from Boosey & Hawkes. Bass and drum parts for Songs of Peace are also available for download.
First performance: 27 May 2012 at Little St Mary’s Church, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, England, by the Fairhaven Singers, conducted by Ralph Woodward.
Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine,
cuius latus perforatum fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis prægustatum in mortis examine.
O Jesu dulcis, O Jesu pie, O Jesu, fili Mariae, miserere mei.
Hail, true body, born of the Virgin Mary,
who having truly suffered, was sacrificed on the cross for mankind,
whose pierced side flowed with water and blood:
may it be for us a foretaste in the trial of death.
O sweet Jesus, O pious Jesus, O Jesus, son of Mary, have mercy on me.
attributed to Pope Innocent VI
Will Todd is a UK-based performer and composer whose music spans a variety of styles and genres. Best known for his choral works, his 2003 jazz mass setting Mass in Blue has been performed more than eighty times since its premiere by choirs in the UK, Europe and the USA. Other notable works for choir range from large scale oratorios such as Saint Cuthbert (recorded by the Hallé Orchestra in 2002) to the anthem Stay with Me Lord, commissioned for The Sixteen. He has worked on operas and stageworks for OperaGenesis at the Royal Opera House and the National Opera Studio, and his 2009 Jazz Concerto for Clarinet, written for Emma Johnson, has been performed in the UK, USA and Finland. As a performer, Will Todd leads his own Will Todd Trio from the piano and was recently an invited guest artist at the Lincoln Center in New York.