Vintage Tune for the Weekend! Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “Ave Verum Corpus”

Weekends mean Sundays, and in many Irish households this means mass. But lets be honest most people have not gone in years, and only feel a mild form of guilt when having that lie-in and fry-up, battling the hangover.

Imagine though if mass was still like it was when Mozart was about. Yes it lasted hours, and no one could understand what was going on, but oh the music! Churches are built for sound and as the richest people in the land church could afford the very best composers it must have been amazing to attend those ceremonies.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

One of my favourite pieces of church music is Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. A beautiful motet of less that 50 bars  it is packed full of atmosphere. Sang by a SATB choir, the strings and organs play long phrases and notes. A slow tempo and softness of sound compound the reverence that the music was trying to convey. Mozart wrote the piece for the festival of Corpus Christi in 1791. I also performed it in a group for my Leaving Certificate Music exam so it holds a special place of terror/relief/love in my heart.

The fans among you will notice that this was the year that Mozart died. This, for me, makes the piece all the more haunting. I am not religious and  I do not think that you have to be to enjoy Church music,  the enchanting nature of the music transcends the original function. Music is for everyone and each person can draw their own thoughts and emotions from the sound.

Many believe that Ave Verum Corpus is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed. So at some point during your weekend why not turn the speakers up and lose yourself in it six minutes? I promise you will not regret it.*

*If you do, not much I can do at this point.

 


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