A Pentecost Playlist 

Am I the only one that feels this Easter season has blown by? In conclusion of the Easter Festival and to celebrate the Church’s second greatest feast of the year, I have compiled a five piece Pentecost playlist for your family’s enjoyment this Whitsuntide. Three of the pieces are motets from the Renaissance while the other two are more recently composed works.

Pentecost is a big deal for my boys, most likely because of all the sweet treats and fire. With goodies like crème brûlée, s’mores, birthday cake for the Church, and candles, I can’t say that I blame them for their partiality. While all the little mouths are busy, we will be taking advantage and listening to the following pieces for tonight’s Sunday Family Concert Hour. The next few days the playlist will also be our free listening while my sons play. You can find other ideas for listening times here.

Does your family have any favorite Pentecost traditions? Please share them with me in the comments!

A Pentecost Playlist

1. Loquebantur Variis Linguis – Thomas Tallis

Thomas Tallis was an English composer during the 14th century. Despite being under Henry VIII, he produced works for both the Catholic and protestant churches. This motet draws its inspiration from a Pentecost Matins responsory, based on Acts 2:4. The latin text with english translation can be found here.

2. Dum Complerentur – Tomas Luis De Victoria

Victoria based this two part motet on the Pentecost reading from Acts 2:1-4 and John 20:19.  In 1609, it was published as part of the Florilegium Sacrarum Cantionum, a compilation of sacred music. Below is a translation of the latin text:

Acts 2:1-4

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

John 20:19

Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you.

3. Come Holy Ghost – Orlando Gibbons

This motet from the renaissance is an english translation of the latin prayer, Veni Creator Spiritus. It was published as part of a collection of hymns and songs in 1632. A plenary indulgence is granted when this prayer is recited or sung on the Feast of Pentecost and New Year’s Day (with the usual conditions). The original text can by found here.

4. Symphony No. 8 “Symphony Of A Thousand”, Part 1- Gustav Mahler

Premiering in 1910, Mahler’s 8th Symphony takes the form of 2 parts or movements. The first part of this romantic era work is a setting of Veni Creator Spiritus while the second half uses text from Goethe’s play, Faust. True to the name, the instrumentation consists of a greatly expanded orchestra, eight vocal soloists, two four-part choirs, and a children’s choir.

5. Opus 4: Prelude, Adagio and Chorale Variations on the “Veni Creator” – Maurice Duruflé

Written in the 20th century, Duruflé’s 4th Opus is an organ work suprisingly inspired by the medieval gregorian chant for Veni Creator Spiritus. It is composed of three movements and begins with a succession of triplets all alluding to the Holy Ghost’s position as the third person of the Blessed Trinity.


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