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Pentecost

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As I write we are almost an hour into the church's third most important day of the year, yet I always feel that Pentecost leaves me feeling that there isn't much suitably festive music for the occasion.

 

Choir pieces first then - well our collection of books hasn't much to offer really - NCAB presents Attwood's Come, Holy Ghost, Sterndale Bennett's God is a spirit, Tallis's If ye love me and Tye's O Holy Spirit, Lord of grace, as I remember. We have attempted the first three in previous years, and God is a spirit is the choice this year as we needed something unaccompanied. However, none of them strike me as particularly festive, even if all four are nice enough - should we be doing somewhat more to mark this important occasion in the church's year?

 

Then to organ music - in this case, unlike Easter, I'm aware there's an abundance of settings, preludes and variations around Veni something Spiritus, but is there anything which is seasonal but also celebratory and festive (and not too difficult for a mere mortal)? What am I missing out on? Not having access to anything seasonal, I stuck the Gigout Grand Chouer Dialogue down for the post-service voluntary, because it is loud and festive. I'm wondering if I can do better though, without stretching to something like the Durufle.

 

Even with hymns, I struggle to think of more than three or four inspiring Pentecost hymns, somewhat in contrast to Easter. Lots of churches seem to use 'O thou who camest from above' as a recessional - one of my favourite three hymns of all time, but I'm not convinced it works at the end of a main morning service (it might at Evensong). As the one responsible for choosing the hymns, I always use 'Shine Jesus Shine' as the recessional for Pentecost, because

a ) Its as good as Kendrick gets

b ) It satisfies the vicar's request to include a mix of modern and traditional (or rather, 30 years old and older still)

c ) Its a damn good romp and a fine way to finish a service

 

This has turned into something of a lament to which I suspect there isn't an answer, but after the euphoria of Easter I always feel Pentecost gets a raw deal in so many ways, musically being one of them.

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Guest Patrick Coleman

I expect Tallis's Loquebantur Variis Linguis is beyond the reach of the average choir, but how about O Lord Send Thy Holy Spirit?

 

I'm sure far more will come to mind but have to get ready for church now...

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As I write we are almost an hour into the church's third most important day of the year, yet I always feel that Pentecost leaves me feeling that there isn't much suitably festive music for the occasion.

 

Choir pieces first then - well our collection of books hasn't much to offer really - NCAB presents Attwood's Come, Holy Ghost, Sterndale Bennett's God is a spirit, Tallis's If ye love me and Tye's O Holy Spirit, Lord of grace, as I remember. We have attempted the first three in previous years, and God is a spirit is the choice this year as we needed something unaccompanied. However, none of them strike me as particularly festive, even if all four are nice enough - should we be doing somewhat more to mark this important occasion in the church's year?

 

Then to organ music - in this case, unlike Easter, I'm aware there's an abundance of settings, preludes and variations around Veni something Spiritus, but is there anything which is seasonal but also celebratory and festive (and not too difficult for a mere mortal)? What am I missing out on? Not having access to anything seasonal, I stuck the Gigout Grand Chouer Dialogue down for the post-service voluntary, because it is loud and festive. I'm wondering if I can do better though, without stretching to something like the Durufle.

 

Even with hymns, I struggle to think of more than three or four inspiring Pentecost hymns, somewhat in contrast to Easter. Lots of churches seem to use 'O thou who camest from above' as a recessional - one of my favourite three hymns of all time, but I'm not convinced it works at the end of a main morning service (it might at Evensong). As the one responsible for choosing the hymns, I always use 'Shine Jesus Shine' as the recessional for Pentecost, because

a ) Its as good as Kendrick gets

b ) It satisfies the vicar's request to include a mix of modern and traditional (or rather, 30 years old and older still)

c ) Its a damn good romp and a fine way to finish a service

 

This has turned into something of a lament to which I suspect there isn't an answer, but after the euphoria of Easter I always feel Pentecost gets a raw deal in so many ways, musically being one of them.

For what it's worth here is what we do at Pentecost, but I admit that I see your point and perhaps feel your frustration. First of all, we had Ascension Day 'transferred' to last Sunday (as do so many churches now) and our Feast of Title is Trinity Sunday so that is a 'big' day for us too. Additionally, our Ascension Day service was suitably festive, particularly with Evensong's rousing anthem and Stainer (no, not Stanford, Stainer!) in B flat to lift the roof. For Pentecost, I did not actually feel the need to be 'festive' with last Sundays offerings and next Sundays requirements. I also choose the hymns and have some pressure (!) to include crisis driven contemporary music. So for our three services today - out of so many possibilities - we had/will have: Be still for the presence of the Lord (twice); O breath of Life come sweeping through us; Filled with the Spirit's power (to Woodlands); Come down O Love divine; There's a spirit in the air; Father, Lord of all creation (to Abotts Leigh); Rejoice the year upon its way; On this day the first of Days. The choral setting was a straightforward but tuneful one and the anthem was Tallis's O Lord give thy Holy Spirit. (In previous years we have done Elgar's The Spirit of the Lord). Now, with the sort of boys I have I need to adopt a fairly vigorous attitude to much music and we gave this anthem (the Tallis) a quite intense performance with a reasonable build up for the repeated section. Admitedly other things help: Our bishop was present giving a sound and amusing sermon. The congregation are encouraged to wear - and do wear - red clothing. And, the nave is decorated with trios of balloons in red, orange and yellow, making me feel that I am in some kind of enlarged DNA or molecule experiment. And, we have "up the candle" liturgy. The 10am postlude was "Fire" from Alan Ridout's The Canticle of the Rose - I actually named it "Spirit of Fire" in the pew leaflet to give the congregation a better idea of its purpose. So rather than feeling in need of demonstrable or palpable festivity I felt musically fulfilled and spiritually refreshed. This is possibly not much help to you, so I will leave you with three 'howlers' from the year seven music assignments that I have been marking between morning and evening services: "As a child Beethoven learnt many interments". "Mozart had a father who was a composer but not so important, so he became a miner composer". "The piano is a piece of music that you play".

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As I write we are almost an hour into the church's third most important day of the year, yet I always feel that Pentecost leaves me feeling that there isn't much suitably festive music for the occasion.

 

Hi

 

We don't have a choir, so I can't comment on that aspect, but there are a fair number of hymns & reasonable worship songs appropriate for Pentecost.

 

For what it's worth, this is what we're using this morning:-

 

Come, O Holy Spirit, Come (Nigerian traditional)

 

O God of Burning, Cleansing Flame ("Modern" variant of a Salvation Army hymn by Booth)

 

A couple of worship songs: May the Fragrance of Jesus fill this place

Light of God, Come Dwell within Your people (this one is really a hymn in disguise)

 

Born by the Holy Spirit's Breath (Words Timothy Dudley-Smith, Tune Fulda)

 

Communion song: Oh to see the Dawn (a recent worship song by Keith Ketty & Stuart Townend with very thought-provoking words)

 

Great is the Darkness - a worship song looking at the need for evangelism - and the chorus is the prayer "Come, Lord Jesus, Pour out Your Spirit on us today"

 

As to "O Thou who Camest from above" - the tune "Wilton" is worth a look. It transform what is a quiet, meditative prayer when sung to Hereford (and there's nothing wrong with that) into something much stronger and a good closing hymn, particularly fitting for the words.

 

Have a blessed Pentecost

 

Tony

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A choral piece that doesn't over-burden technically is 'Come Down O Love Divine' by William Harris. It's a hymn-anthem based on a tune for the epynonemous hymn, but not down ampey (is it North

Ellington or something?) - If you fancied stretching your playing, you could do the last movement of the Dupre VeniCreator (the Choral-Varie) as an anthem, alternating the variations with plainchant. We're doing this tonight at Evensong and it is effective.

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If you fancied stretching your playing, you could do the last movement of the Dupre VeniCreator (the Choral-Varie) as an anthem, alternating the variations with plainchant. We're doing this tonight at Evensong and it is effective.

You meant Duruflé, I'm sure.

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A choral piece that doesn't over-burden technically is 'Come Down O Love Divine' by William Harris. It's a hymn-anthem based on a tune for the epynonemous hymn, but not down ampey (is it North

Ellington or something?) - If you fancied stretching your playing, you could do the last movement of the Dupre VeniCreator (the Choral-Varie) as an anthem, alternating the variations with plainchant. We're doing this tonight at Evensong and it is effective.

 

North Petherton, an excellent tune, and a lovey setting by Harris. Too often people reject Harris's accompanied pieces because they prefer Faire is the Heaven and Bring us, O Lord God, but Come down and Behold, the tabernacle of God are both superb little anthems.

 

Jonathan

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Well we processed to "Christians lift up your hearts" in the morning, as discussed recently in the "Hail the festival day" thread. What a wonderful tune it is for processions, very uplifting. The choir is not so strong at the moment, so we used "O holy spirit, Lord of grace" (Tye) as our introit and "If ye love me" (Tallis) as the communion motet. At evensong we had the Stanford hymn-anthem "Purest and Highest" which is simple but I regard as something of a gem.

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Does anybody here use Christopher Walker's Veni Sancte Spiritus? It consists of a Latin ostinato for congregation over which the English words of the Pentecost Sequence are sung by a cantor. There is optional instrumentation which can augment the organ part and an optional coda whch modulates up a 4th (thus beating Rutter by 2!).

 

Peter

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North Petherton, an excellent tune, and a lovey setting by Harris. Too often people reject Harris's accompanied pieces because they prefer Faire is the Heaven and Bring us, O Lord God, but Come down and Behold, the tabernacle of God are both superb little anthems.

 

Jonathan

 

Quite agree Jonathan - I used to sing both those anthems as a boy and have very fond memories.

What about "Come Holy Ghost the maker, Come" by Thorpe-Davie....an excellent and very powerful anthem, tho now i have typed this, I am not sure whether it is Pentecost or Trinity!!!!

Richard

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To add to your hymn list, Come Holy Spirit Come is an excellent one which I think is in Common Praise and we sing it to Diademata (I don't need a good excuse to give that tune a frequent airing!)

 

We did the Harris 'Come down O Love Divine' last year here at school and it went down very well, just on the limits of what they can manage at the moment.

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Does anybody here use Christopher Walker's Veni Sancte Spiritus? Peter

Yes. Have used it a couple of times, including once for an Ordination during the Intercessions.

 

On a more general point: I feel that music from what used to be called the "St Thomas More Centre" school of composers deserves to be far better known and more widely used than it currently is in the Anglican Church. Fairly simple but mostly effective, it provides a useful halfway house between traditional and happy-clappy, with lots of "ad lib" instrumental parts so that a variety of people can participate at their own level, and A5 congregational parts that can be incorporated into the bulletin.

 

Douglas.

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I had forgotten the Harris. It wouldn't have been possible this year as I was flying solo and had to conduct myself, but it may be worth thinking about for future years.

 

Thanks for the various ideas.

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Quite agree Jonathan - I used to sing both those anthems as a boy and have very fond memories.

What about "Come Holy Ghost the maker, Come" by Thorpe-Davie....an excellent and very powerful anthem, tho now i have typed this, I am not sure whether it is Pentecost or Trinity!!!!

Richard

The Thorpe-Davie is an excellent piece too, but sadly much neglected these days, even in cathedrals. As far as the organ is concerned, the piece I love is Tournemire's 'Dominica infra Oct. Ascensionis

' from L'Orgue Mystique. There is a superb hymn with a tune by Howells which appears in NEH, Holy Spirit, Ever Dwelling. The tune is called Salisbury.

 

Jonathan

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The Thorpe-Davie is an excellent piece too, but daly much neglected these days, even in cathedrals. As far as the organ is concerned, the piece I love is Tournemire's 'Dominica infra Oct. Ascensionis

' from L'Orgue Mystique. There is a superb hymn with a tune by Howells which appears in NEH, Holy Spirit, Ever Dwelling. The tune is called Salisbury.

 

Jonathan

 

 

=========================

 

 

I always say, "I don't do French," but if I did, this piece by Tournermire would be high on the list......there's something about it that's special. I was wondering of anyone would mention it.

 

I'm also amazed that no-one mentioned Gerald Finzi's, "God is gone up!"

 

MM

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Palestrina 'Dum Complerentur Dies Pentecostes' - a bit ambitious, but not as much so as Loquebantur, and probably not beyond the reach of all choirs? Six parts I think, SSATTB.

 

There's also a Missa Dum Complerentur by Victoria (I think it might be on CPDL) which I believe is SAATTB.

 

Just in case it's of interest to someone next year anyway...

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I'm also amazed that no-one mentioned Gerald Finzi's, "God is gone up!"

 

MM

Superb piece, but for Ascensiontide rather than Pentecost. (Although I see it was written for a St Cecilia's Day service for St Andrew's, Holborn.)

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There is a superb hymn with a tune by Howells which appears in NEH, Holy Spirit, Ever Dwelling. The tune is called Salisbury.

I feel very ambivalent about this one. On paper the tune looks gorgeous and when you play it through to yourself it feels wonderful, with some lovely chords - a real winner, you'd think - but in actual performance it always sounds oh so very dreary. At least, it has with every choir and congregation I've heard. I'm not sure why this should be, but I'm quite sure the combination of minor key and low tessitura at the beginning don't help. I did it the other day and the choir did their level best to make it sound uplifting, but I doubt it really came off any better than usual.

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On the anthem front, T. Tertius Noble's "Come, O Creator Spirit" is a good sing. It doesn't seem to be that well known. Banks publish it, I think...

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Superb piece, but for Ascensiontide rather than Pentecost. (Although I see it was written for a St Cecilia's Day service for St Andrew's, Holborn.)

 

 

========================

 

Pentecost?

 

Oooops!

 

I can't imagine how I turned that into the Ascension, but hey, miracles happen!

 

:lol:

 

MM

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I think we have already established there is more for Ascension than Pentecost whch probably reflects Pentecost is somewhat neglected alongside Christmas and Easter depite being one of the great three. However, for those wanting a challange with a choir capable of it there is of course Jonathan Harvey's 'Come, Holy Ghost'.

 

Jonathan

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I think we have already established there is more for Ascension than Pentecost whch probably reflects Pentecost is somewhat neglected alongside Christmas and Easter depite being one of the great three. However, for those wanting a challange with a choir capable of it there is of course Jonathan Harvey's 'Come, Holy Ghost'.

 

Jonathan

Has anyone mentioned Listen, sweet dove by Ives?

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On the anthem front, T. Tertius Noble's "Come, O Creator Spirit" is a good sing. It doesn't seem to be that well known. Banks publish it, I think...

I'm sure I saw that in the old Novello Church Anthem Book the other day. Looked quite easy and probably quite effective in a decent acoustic.

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