This hymn is very old being generally held to have been composed by Rabanus Maurus in the ninth century. It’s the hymn prescribed for second Vespers on Whit Sunday and is also used at any ritual invoking the Holy Spirit such as ordinations and consecrations. Palestrina’s setting was published in 1589 by Angelo Gardano1 it’s a four-part setting (SATB) with the exception the doxology which is SATTB. It’s an alternatim setting – verses of chant and polyphony alternate, the polyphony is particularly beautiful, I’ve never understood why it’s not far better known. Enjoy :-).
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Veni Creator Spiritus
Performers: Westminster Cathedral Choir conducted by Martin Baker
Text & Translation: Veni Creator Spiritus
|Veni Creator Spiritus |
Mentes tuorum visita,
Imple superna gratia,
Quae tu creasti pectora.
|Come Creator Spirit, |
visit the souls that are thine;
fill with heavenly grace
the hearts thou hast created.
|Qui Paraclitus diceris |
Donum Dei altissimi,
Fons vivus ignis caritas,
Et spiritalis unctio.
|Thou art severally called Paraclete |
gift of God most high,
fount of life, fire, love
and the soul’s anointing.
|Tu septiformis munera, |
Dextrae Dei tu digitus,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
Sermone ditans guttura.
|Seven gifts are thine to give; |
finger of the Father’s right hand art thou;
clear promise of the Father;
grant the grace of speech to men’s tongues.
|Accende lumen sensibus, |
Infunde amorem cordibus:
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti.
|Kindle a light in our minds; |
infuse our hearts with love;
and sustain our bodily infirmity
with thy unfailing strength.
|Hostem repellas longius, |
Pacemque dones protimus:
Ductore sic te praevio
Vitemus omne noxium.
|Scatter our foes afar; |
grant us always the gift of peace;
ever guide us so that
we may avoid all that is sinful.
|Per te sciamus da Patrem |
Noscamus atque Filium,
Te utriusque Spiritum,
Credamus omni tempore.
|Grant that through thee we may |
know the Father and the Son;
and may ever believe thee to be
the Spirit of both.
Gloria Patri Domino,
Hymn at Second Vespers on Whit Sunday
|Glory be to God the Father and |
to the Son, who rose from the dead,
and to the Paraclete
for ever and ever. Amen.
Score available from CPDL: Veni Creator Spiritus (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina) – ChoralWiki
- Hymni totius anni secundum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae consuetudinem, necnon hymni religionum, Rome. ↩