Now to the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray
Download the Bb trumpet or C trumpet part.
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Over the last several years, “Now to the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray” has become one of my favorite chorales. I enjoy the imagery Luther uses to describe the Holy Spirit, its nod to the communion liturgy (namely the Kyrie), and its reminder that the Spirit makes Christ known to us and forms us in community throughout our whole life’s journey. The tune by Johann Walter, NUN BITTEN WIR, is both comforting (the gentle melodic line moves almost exclusively by whole steps and thirds) and bold (the dotted rhythm and unexpected metrical “shift” in the third phrase), perfectly capturing the both/and nature of Luther’s words.
This setting was written in honor of my teacher, Paul Westermeyer, upon his retirement from Luther Seminary and the ending of the Master of Sacred Music degree program there. I’ve tried to highlight the comforting aspect of the text in my interpretation of the second stanza, while the text’s boldness is illuminated in the third and fourth stanzas and through the use of trumpet (including the quote of EIN FESTE BURG in stanza 3). The key change from E-flat to G major is both a nod to the third person of the Trinity as well as a representation of the Spirit’s “transcendent comfort.”