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Philip

Pentecost

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I'm a bit late to this but a couple of favourites of a previous choir also included 'If ye love me' by Philip Wilby (Banks ECS) for SSATB, and 'Draw us in the Spirit's Tether' by Harold Friedell (H.W.Gray, I think)- both straight-forward but reasonably interesting to sing.

 

I've used the Christopher Walker 'Veni Sancte Spiritus' as well- the verses need a little more rehearsal but refrain is straightforward and gains in strength by repetition.

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"Come, Holy Ghost" by Thiman, anyone? I found a copy of it some years ago - published I think by OUP or Novello.

 

I'm also aware of an RSCM publication, "Be filled with the Spirit" by Harry Bramma, though I've neither heard nor seen it.

 

With the Junior Boys at Kendal last Sunday, we did "Spirit of the Living God" and the older Boys and Men did the Harris ("Come down...") which they've really taken a shine to. The voluntary adult Choir sang the first two verses of "Be still, my soul" (tune Finlandia) whose words could at a pinch be taken to refer to the Spirit in action if not in name.

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Another 'Rutter for those who hate Rutter' is Veni Sancte Spiritus in Cantica Nova. Very atmospheric and not that hard!

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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.

 

How about Bach & Buxtehude? The Komm Heiliger Geist settings are gorgeous, quite apart from the big Fantasia which kicks off the Eighteen.

 

And the Messiaen Messe de la Pentecote is worth working up to... ;-)

 

I'd second the vote for Palestrina's Dum Complerentur - Peter Maxwell Davies has one too, if you're so inclined...

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How about Bach & Buxtehude? The Komm Heiliger Geist settings are gorgeous, quite apart from the big Fantasia which kicks off the Eighteen. And then there are the Komm Gott Schopfer settings.

 

And the Messiaen Messe de la Pentecote is worth working up to... ;-)

 

I'd second the vote for Palestrina's Dum Complerentur - Peter Maxwell Davies has one too, if you're so inclined...

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