"Ave Verum" is one of Mozart's most famous, and most popular, works. Even today it is still included in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic church. It was written to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi (which was of particular importance in Mozart's native Austria at the time).
Ave Verum was first performed at the parish church in Baden, Austria on Corpus Christi day in 1791 (Mozart gave it as a gift to the local choirmaster, Anton Stoll, with whom he became friends while Mozart's wife was staying at a nearby spa during her sixth pregancy). Mozart's autograph on the original manuscript is dated 17th June 1791 - less than six months before his death on December 5th.
The verse itself is from a 14th century handwritten document from Reichenau, penned by an unknown author. For those of you who are wondering what the words actually mean, I have even worked out a translation.
Mozart's original manuscript lacks any specific interpretive or dynamic instructions other than the words "Sotto voce" at the beginning of the score. The dynamics in this edition are commonly used, but as with all music, should only be treated as guidelines.
Here are midi (computer music) files for you to download and listen to (If you're using Microsoft Windows, simply click on the link and they should play automatically. If you're not using Windows, I'm going out on a limb and assuming you're technically competent enough to figure things out for yourself....).
Also note that there are midi files of each individual voice part for each piece, so you can hear what each one sounds like - especially your own!
These midi files should give you a fair idea of what each piece - and each individual voice part - sounds like, especially if you're unfamiliar with reading music.
And for those that would like to dowload a viewable and/or printable copy of the score (HINT: most people will want the PDF file; don't try to view the Postscript file unless you know what you're doing):