Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus”: Sublime Simplicity

Austrian pianist Artur Schnabel insisted that Mozart’s Ave verum corpus, K. 618 is “too simple for children, and too difficult for adults.”

Indeed, this simple choral, unfolding over 46 measures, imparts a cosmic “rightness.” It says all that needs to be said. The score is inscribed with a single interpretive marking—sotto voce, which implies a hushed, reverent tone.

This motet was composed in the final six months of Mozart’s life, concurrently with The Magic Flute. A setting of a 14th century Eucharistic hymn, it was performed during the feast of Corpus Christi. The manuscript is dated June 17, 1791. It was written for Anton Stoll, the choirmaster of a small local church in Baden, where Mozart’s wife, Constanze, pregnant with their sixth child, was taking a cure at the spa.


  • Mozart: Ave verum corpus, K. 618, Peter Schreier, Staatskapelle Dresden, Rundfunkchor Leipzig Amazon

Featured Image: Mozart’s autograph score for Ave verum corpus 

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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