Notes: This simple anthem can be used in a whole range of situations – with small or large groups in small or large buildings. It can be sung in five ways:
a – as written, for SAT(orBa)B with accompaniment,
b – SAB with accompaniment,
c – unison with accompaniment,
d – SAT(orBa)B, unaccompanied,
e – SAB, unaccompanied (but see the notes below).
The text was written by the nuns of the Benedictine abbey at Stanbrook, and comes from their collection of office hymns compiled in the 1970s. (It can also be found in Hymns for Prayer and Praise.) It is strong enough to read as a piece of verse without music. It is certainly well worth reading through before learning the music.
The basic pulse is a steady crotchet. The bar-lengths vary. So long as the crotchet beat is felt and singers count the longer notes, this should not cause a problem.
Both the accompaniment and the voice parts should be flowing and legato. The phrases need to be shaped, and care taken over the dynamic markings. Make the quiet passages really quiet, and be ready for the contrast at bar 9. The voice parts have some passages where the notes are marked (-). These are not stabbing accents, so much as weighted notes. Start each note firmly, and then let the tone decay a little.
The anthem can be sung without the tenor part, even unaccompanied. Nevertheless, if the men can divide for bars 17 to 20 this may be more effective.
The music from bar 21 reuses material from bars 3-16, which will save learning time. The order of the material is not quite the same, though.
Spirit of the Lord, come down, spreading your protective wing over all that you have made;
Over every living thing.
Come in storm-wind, cleansing fire, sweeping through a world unclean, come in every gentle breeze;
Breath of God, unheard, unseen.
Holy Spirit, Blessed Light, guide and strengthen mind and will,comfort every grieving heart;
and our inmost being fill.
Through the Father and the Son, by whose blood our life was bought, fill our empty hands with gifts;
Come with grace unearned, unsought.