Hymn of the week: Soul of My Saviour (ANIMA CHRISTI)
Hymn Title: Soul of My Saviour
Tune Name: ANIMA CHRISTI
Meter: 10 10 10 10
Every church musician needs a good Eucharistic hymn to keep in their pocket in case of need. This setting of the Anima Christi prayer (attributed to Pope John XXII), translated by the most excellent Edward Caswall, is a perfect option. Easily learned and easily sung, yet not boring or repetitive, its long, elegant lines are each interesting in their own right - as an organist, if I am called upon to play extra verses to fill time, I will often simply drop the melody and solo out the alto line with an oboe setting for a full verse.
Singers should try to sing each line in a single, well-supported breath; make sure to accommodate them by keeping the tempo steady, stately but not too slow. Basses will be tempted to blast out their higher notes in the third line (ask me how I know), so stay on them to temper their enthusiasm. As the tenor and bass parts meet up, they will need less volume, so as not to overpower the melody.
This hymn is the one I sing to myself in my head after I receive Communion every time I am so blessed. Meditating on its words is both good preparation and good reflection, so it can be used either in place of the Communion Antiphon or as a post-Communion meditation hymn.
(I'm kind of front-loading this list of Hymns of the Week with ones I find most useful. Let me know in the comments section if there are specific hymns or general needs I can fill with future selections!)