Music for Pentecost — May 28, 2023

Holy Spirit, ever dwelling – Text: Timothy Rees (1874-1939) / Music: Herbert Howells (1892-1982) / arr. Malcolm Archer

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This Sunday’s communion motet in church is an arrangement by Malcolm Archer of Herbert Howells’ (1892-1983) hymn tune Salisbury. Herbert Howells was for a short time in 1917 the sub-organist of Salisbury Cathedral, and this may be remembered in the name of this tune. Thereafter he turned to composition and to teaching, both at St Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith and at the Royal College of Music. Towards the end of his life he concentrated on church music, in particular writing a remarkable series of settings of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis for cathedral evensong. In the 1930s he contributed a number of tunes for use initially in public school chapels. This is a distinguished example of such a tune.

The author of the text, Timothy Rees (1874-1939), was a monk of the Community of the Resurrection and later Bishop of Llandaff. He wrote a small number of very useful hymns. This one first appeared in 1922, and has been a welcome addition to the repertoire of hymns on the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit, ever dwelling
In the holiest realms of light;
Holy Spirit, ever brooding
O’er a world of gloom and night;
Holy Spirit, ever raising
Sons of earth to thrones on high;
Living, life-imparting Spirit,
Thee we praise and magnify.

Holy Spirit, ever living
As the Church’s very life;
Holy Spirit, ever striving
Through her in a ceaseless strife;
Holy Spirit, ever forming
In the Church the mind of Christ;
Thee we praise with endless worship
For thy fruit and gifts unpriced.

Holy Spirit, ever working
Through the Church’s ministry;
Quick’ning, strength’ning, and absolving,
Setting captive sinners free;
Holy Spirit, ever binding
Age to age, and soul to soul:
In a fellowship unending
Thee we worship and extol.

Gerald Harder