Into Thy Hands

Jonathan Dove: Into thy hands

Into thy hands, O Lord and Father, we commend our souls and our bodies, our parents and our homes, friends and kindred. Into thy hands, O Lord and Father, we commend our benefactors and brethren departed. Into thy hands, O Lord and Father, we commend all thy people faithfully believing, and all who need thy pity and protection. Enlighten us with thy holy grace and suffer us never more to be separated from thee.



Jonathan Dove: Into thy hands
Programme note by the composer
Edmund Rich, later St Edmund of Abingdon, was the great scholar of his age. He was treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral for eleven years, later becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, and spending some time in exile. He died near Pontigny in 1243, and is buried there, in the Cistercian Abbey.
In September 1996 the choir of Salisbury Cathedral visited his tomb, to commemorate the 750th anniversary of his canonization, and asked for a setting of his words which they could sing in the Abbey. Knowing that it was a very resonant building, I imagined that the echo would be part of the piece, and set the first prayer spaciously, allowing for the sound of each phrase to reverberate. The second prayer talks of pilgrimage and eternity, and the music reflects this in a calm processional which does not reach an ending, but simply, in trust, surrenders itself.

Lord Jesus Christ, mercifully grant to me that the rest of my pigrimage may be directed according to thy will, that the rest of my life may be completed in thee and my soul may deserve to enjoy thee who art eternal life for ever.