Ave Verum Corpus was commissioned in 2006 by Kora Pavelic (mezzo-soprano) and Dubravka Vukalovic (piano) for a recital on 17 August 2006 at the Lapidarium of the Old City of Varazdin (Croatia).
The composer writes: 'Having in mind an intimate acoustic and the special atmosphere of the historical venue, I tried to recreate a reflective work that would bring the timbres of the voice and piano in unity with the hall. The music is set to the text of a Eucharistic hymn from the 14th-century which has been the inspiration for many composers. Following the diverse expressions and affective moods of this short prayer, the song is crafted in three connecting miniature sections - an evocative beginning in an impressionistic manner, followed by the excruciating vision of Christ's suffering, and ending with the calm and hopeful soundings of D flat major.'
"This is a beautiful setting of a very familiar text and the piano sonorities in particular create a very distinctive aura of deeply-felt religious devotion. It is no surprise to learn that Vlahek is an award-winning pianist, born in Croatia, as this piece, to my ears, combines the bass-rich 'Orthodox' sound that one associates with the Rachmaninov Vespers, for example, with acute sensitivity to piano timbre." [Singing/AOTOS, Autumn 2012]
Pianist and composer, Bruno Vlahek, was born in 1986 in Zagreb (Croatia). He graduated from the Zagreb Academy of Music as one of the youngest piano students ever, and subsequently won international scholarships to study in Lausanne, Cologne and Madrid. At Cologne University he studied composition with T.Claus and J.Fritsch.
He has performed as a soloist throughout Europe, at leading international music festivals and venues, and won the A.Scriabin Piano Competition (Paris, 2010) and R.Vines Piano Competition (Lleida, 2008).
Bruno Vlahek has composed in many genres and his works have been performed to great acclaim in Berlin, Munich, Prague, Vienna, Riga, Lausanne and Belgrade, also at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, in the USA, and at the ISCM's World New Music Days 2010 in Sydney, Australia.