Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit

Tallis 180 x 150When Elizabeth I came to the throne she reinstated the Book of Common Prayer introduced by Edward VI in 1549. The new dispensation required new prayers in English and of course new music. One of the flurry of prayer books printed to meet the demand created by the new order was Lidley’s prayers which was a set of "Christian prayers and holy meditations, as well for private as public exercise" that included the prayer "O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit" which Tallis set sometime shortly after it was first published in 1566. If you’re not familiar with Tallis’ English language music this exquisite anthem is a good place to start. It’s a very fluid piece of music with a notably relaxed approach to textual repetition that’s written using the ABB structure i.e.. two sections the second of which is repeated that was so popular amongst Edwardian and early Elizabethan anthem composers. Enjoy :-).


Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit

O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, and lighten our understanding,
that we may dwell in the fear of thy Name, all the days of our life,
that we may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

Performers: The Cardinall’s Musick conducted by Andrew Carwood

4 thoughts on “Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit

  1. Greetings. As of today (16 Feb) using Chrome, the player file wasn’t operating. I’ll check another machine, another browser.

    • Greetings Bruce,

      That’s because for some reason the file wasn’t linked when I saved the post – try it now it should be there, and many thanks for letting me know.


  2. Wonderful to hear this anthem, thank you. Are you able to obtain sheet music for O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit, if so ? Where ? Once again , thank you

    • Glad you enjoyed it Susan. Yes you can get that score free of charge from CPDL – here’s the direct link to the page, it’ll open either in a new tab or a new window depending on how you’ve configured your browser.


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