117a-Come, Holy Ghost

Please turn your hymnals to number 117 (first version) and join with the clarinets in, “Come, Holy Ghost”.

Number: 117 (First Version)
First Line: Come, Holy Ghost
Meter: L.M.
Tempo: Unison, broadly
Music: Plainsong Melody, Mode VIII
Arr. Winfred Douglas, 1867-1944
Text: Based on Veni, Creator Spiritus
Tr. John Cosin, 1594-1672

Clarinet Arrangement: 117a-ComeHolyGhost

“Veni, Creator Spiritus” is a venerable Latin Hymn whose origins date to the first century of the church.

Veni, Creator Spiritus (“Come Creator Spirit”) is a hymn believed to have been written by Rabanus Maurus in the 9th century. When the original Latin text is used, it is normally sung in Gregorian Chant. As an invocation of the Holy Spirit, in the practice of the Roman Catholic Church it is sung during the liturgical celebration of the feast of Pentecost (at both Terce and Vespers). It is also sung at occasions such as the entrance of Cardinals to the Sistine Chapel, when electing a new pope, as well as at the consecration of bishops, the ordination of priests, when celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation, the dedication of churches, the celebration of synods or councils, the coronation of kings, the profession of members of religious institutes and other similar solemn events.

Interestingly, it has been most copiously adapted and used by modern composers by everyone from Mahler to Stockhausen.

A motet for women’s voices to the text was among the last works of Hector Berlioz. Gustav Mahler set the Latin text to music in Part I of his Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major. Maurice Duruflé used the chant tune as the basis for his symphonic organ composition “Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le thème du ‘Veni Creator'” in 1926/1930. Paul Hindemith concludes his Concerto for Organ and Orchestra with a Phantasy on “Veni, Creator Spiritus.” Krzysztof Penderecki wrote a motet for mixed choir, and the text has been set for chorus and orchestra by Cristóbal Halffter. Karlheinz Stockhausen used the text in the second hour of his Klang cycle in a piece for two singing harpists titled Freude (Joy).

For me, some of these early hymns are the hardest, not only because they are difficult to transcribe, but also because the harmonies are more asymetrical and complex than more modern hymns. There is a lot of unusual counting involved.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal