Ave Verum Corpus

Francis Poulenc

Ave Verum Corpus


About this work

This brief motet could initially be mistaken for a Renaissance setting, but before long it betrays its identity with certain turns of phrase and bittersweet harmony peculiar to Poulenc in his serious mode -- and, despite his high living, Poulenc was a sincere writer of sacred music. His setting of Ave Verum Corpus, after the initial bit of trick polyphony on the text's first two words, uses some textual but not musical repetition on its first pass through the text, then reconsiders the entire four lines again in a more succinct setting:

Hail, true body of Christ, Born of the Virgin Mary, Who truly suffered, sacrificed, On the cross for mankind.