The Choir Corner: Pentecost

 David Williamson, Choirmaster and Organist

David Williamson, Choirmaster and Organist

As we speedily fly through the Great Fifty Days of Easter, seemingly faster each year, I'm putting in a new communion hymn on The Day of Pentecost from the contemplative Taize' Community. The community is an ecumenical monastic order in France, near Cluny, founded by a Swiss Protestant, who felt called to minister to young people and work towards greater cooperation among Christians.

Their worship and their songs were made to be accessible to the brothers and pilgrims, using mantras, short repeated phrases like antiphons. Usually a cantor provides the rest of the text of the psalm or Canticle. We have used "Ubi Caritas" for a while now. For Pentecost we will use "Veni Sancte Spiritus." Both were written by the late French organist Jacques Berthier, who composed much of their music. In the past fifteen years or so this invocation of the Holy Spirit has gradually replaced the "Veni Creator Spiritus" as the musical prayer at the laying on of hands at ordinations, so many of you have probably already heard it.