Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Veni Creator Spiritus

Victoria set many hymns amongst them this four-part (SATB) setting of the Office hymn for Pentecost ‘Veni creator spiritus‘ which literally translates as ‘Come creator spirit’ but is often translated as ‘Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come’. Listening to it may be the cause of some surprise amongst those who associate Victoria only with the austere beauty of his settings of of the Requiem and the Holy Week texts. To be sure Veni creator spiritus begins sternly but this soon yields to a beautiful arrangement in which Victoria’s polyphonic setting of the even verses reveal a complex and sophisticated series of contrasts which become ever more refined as the hymn progresses in its sonorous beauty. It’s sung below by the Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers. Enjoy :-).

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Text & Translation: Veni Creator Spiritus

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LatinEnglish Translation (Traditional)English Translation Version by George Wither

Veni, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia,
quae tu creasti pectora.

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come,
From thy bright heav’nly throne,
Come take possession of our souls,
And make them all thy own.

Come Holy Ghost, the Maker, come;
Take in the souls of thine thy place;
Thou whom our hearts had being from,
Oh, fill them with thy heavenly grace.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
donum Dei altissimi,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.

Thou who art called the Paraclete,
Best gift of God above,
The living spring, the living fire,
Sweet unction and true love.

Thou art that Comfort from above,
The Highest doth by gift impart;
Thou spring of life, a fire of love,
And the anointing Spirit art.

Tu septiformis munere,
dextrae Dei tu digitus,
tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.

Thou who art sev’nfold in thy grace,
Finger of God’s right hand
His promise teaching little ones
To speak an understand.

Thou in thy gifts art manifold;
God’s right-hand finger thou art, Lord:
The Father’s promise made of old;
Our tongues enriching by the word.

Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus,
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.

O guide our minds with thy bless’d light,
With love our hearts inflame;
And with thy strength, which ne’er decays
Confirm our mortal frame.

Oh! give our blinded senses light;
Shed love into each heart of our,
And grant the body’s feeble plight
May be enabled by thy power.

Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio,
vitemus omne noxium.

Far from us drive our deadly foe;
True peace unto us bring;
And through all perils lead us safe
Beneath thy sacred wing.

Far from us drive away the foe,
And let a speedy peace ensue:
Our leader also be, that so
We every danger may eschew.

Per te sciamus, da, Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium,
te utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.

Through thee may we the Father know,
Through thee th’ eternal Son,
And thee, the Spirit of them both,
Thrice-blessed Three in One.

Let us be taught the blessed Creed
Of Father, and of Son, by thee:
And how from both thou dost proceed,
That our belief it still may be.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.

All glory to the Father be,
With his coequal Son;
The same to thee, great Paraclete,
While endless ages run.

Amen.

To Thee, the Father, and the Son,
(Whom past and present times adore)
The One in Three, and Three in One,
All glory be for evermore.

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