Ave verum corpus by Nicholas O’Neill is an eight-voice response to a celebrated sacred text which places the sacrament of Communion in the context of Christ’s death. The work grows from a single note which is gradually adorned by upper voices and is thereafter transformed into a motif which suggests its own static harmonies within the whole choir. Gradually the music paints the anguish of Christ’s suffering within the context of human redemption. However, although the music is ultimately optimistic, in that it starts and finishes at one with itself, the only other unisons within the motet occur at the words ‘homine’ (‘mankind’) and ‘examine’ (‘trial’).
from notes by Jeremy Summerly © 2006