Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Come, Holy Ghost

You may have heard Tallis’ English language setting of Veni Creator referred to as "Tallis’ Ordinal" it’s to be found in the whole Psalter translated into English metre published in 1567 by the Elizabethan music printer John Day. That psalter contained inter alia metrical translations of psalms by Matthew Parker, the first Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury (1559-75). Tallis’ contribution to the enterprise consisted of settings of Psalms 1, 2, 42, 5, 52, 67,68, 95, and his ‘Ordinal’ – Come Holy Ghost. It’s the exception among his contribution to the Psalter first because it’s not a psalm and secondly because it’s the only one of the nine items clearly intended for use in public the style of all the other items marks them as primarily intended for private devotions but Come, Holy Ghost was most likely intended to be sung during the ordination services for Anglican clergy. It’s really rather beautiful, it reminds me quite strongly of Tye’s 1553 Actes of the Apostles but is far freer and more expressive than Tye’s music. Enjoy :-).


Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Come, Holy Ghost

Come, Holy Ghost, eternal God, which dost from God proceed;
The Father first and eke the Son, one God as we do read.

O visit thou our minds and hearts thy heav’nly grace inspire:
That we in truth and godliness may set our whole desire.

Thou art O Sp’rit the comforter in woe and hard distress:
The heav’nly gift of God so high which tongue cannot express.

Be laud to God the Father high and God his Son praise ye:
Be praise to God the Holy Sp’rit, one God in Trinity.

Pray we that Christ the saviour vouchsafe his sp’rit to send:
To all which true profess his name till all the world doth end.

Archbishop Matthew Parker (1504-1575)
Veni Creator Spiritus

Performers: The Cardinall’s Musick conducted by Andrew Carwood

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *