Use: General, Pentecost, Confirmation
Required Resources: SATB choir, organ
The text "Breathe on Me, Breath of God," was written by Edwin Hatch, an Oxford University graduate, educator, author and Anglican cleric.
Scriptural allusions are John 20:21-22
[Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."]
and Genesis 2:7 [Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.]
The author explores the juxtaposition of the two English meanings ["breath" and "spirit"] for the Hebrew word ruach; and the same for the Greek word pneuma.
Thus the Holy Spirit is seen as the "Breath of God," breathing life into God's children on earth.
Alan Smith's setting of this text is thoroughly British, as might be expected of this West Sussex composer.
The choral parts are rich, but easily sung, with quite comfortable ranges.
Frequent unison singing makes the music highly accessible, as does the ABA + Coda format.
The coda is a six-measure crescendo, starting mezzo-piano in the alto line and reaching fortissimo with full choir, on the words, "Breathe on me, breath of God."
Mr. Smith's organ writing is as facile and effective as his choral writing.
The accompaniment is enjoyable to hear and play and not at all difficult.
This is an absolutely beautiful anthem for Pentecost or Confirmation — you'll be glad that you programmed it!
Order #: 5052
- Choral Music
- Ordinary Time
- SATB Choir