Listen, Sweet Dove
Katherine Burk

Composer Katherine Burk
Text George Herbert
Voicing Two-part treble, kbyd. (418-630), SAB, organ (418-631)
Topics Holy Spirit, God's Love, Comfort & Encouragement
Lectionary usage Pentecost
Price $2.50 (U.S.)
Length 2' 15" Released 7/2021
Catalog no. 418-630/418-631
Difficulty Mod. easy

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George Herbert's words receive a chant-like setting by Katherine Burk in this anthem, available in either two-part treble or SAB scorings. The melody quotes the plainchant Veni Creator Spiritus before branching off into a rising lyrical line reflecting the spreading of the dove's wings in flight.

Listen sweet Dove unto my song,
and spread thy golden wings in me;
hatching my tender heart so long,
till it get wing, and flie away with thee.

The sunne, which once did shine alone,
hung down his head, and wisht for night,
when he beheld twelve sunnes for one
going about the world, and giving light.

Such glorious gifts thou didst bestow,
that th'earth did like a heav'n appeare;
the starres were coming down to know
if they might mend their wages, and serve here.

Lord, though we change, thou art the same;
the same sweet God of love and light:
restore this day, for thy great name,
unto his ancient and miraculous right.

--George Herbert, 1633, from "Whitsunday"


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"George Herbert's popular poem excerpt from the larger Whitsunday appears in parallel versions for upper voices and for smaller mixed ensembles. Burk cleverly cites the melody of Veni Creator Spiritus without fully quoting it at length. Further suggesting the freedom of the Spirit, the music follows no consistent meter, and the score is devoid of written time signatures. The treble choir version is in unison for the first half and in two voices for the remainder. Burk mainly reassigns notes in the SAB version, although a few passages of three-part texture necessitate new vocal writing. The accompaniment is identical in both versions save for some slight details of registration suggestion and notation. Choral libraries could easily accommodate both versions, allowing for performance options for children, adult women, or mixed choir. The music is moderate in difficulty and consistently charming. Choirs and congregations will enjoy this graceful Pentecost anthem in either version." -AAM Journal, Nov. 2021


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