Scored for: SATB & piano (optional strings & harp)
Duration: 7 minutes
Other Info: Stay with me, Lord was originally commissioned by the Genesis Foundation as one of three commissioned settings of Padre Pio’s Prayer after Communion, and first performed in June 2008 at Westminster Cathedral, London by The Sixteen, conducted by Harry Christophers.
Padre Pio (1887-1968), in his lifetime a controversial and holy man, was canonised St Pius of Pietrelcina in 2002. He is known unofficially as 'the patron Saint of stress relief', in accord with his most famous dictum, 'Pray, hope and don't worry.' Will Todd sets an English version of the text by Ben Dunwell; by turns gentle and intense, the resulting choral prayer captures the reflective and emotional core of Pio's words. For intermediate standard performers; also suitable for gospel choirs.
A recording of this original arrangement by The Sixteen is available on the album Padre Pio Prayer on the Coro label. A subsequent version was arranged for the 2012 album The Call of Wisdom, performed by Tenebrae conducted by Nigel Short on the Signum Classics label.
Will Todd writes:
As well as altering much of the way the work is accompanied (not least scoring it for optional strings and harp as an alternative to piano), I have moved the chorus sections around, removing one completely, and made more use of changes of texture. The plainsong-like section (‘Let me perceive you...’) is a complete reworking of the equivalent section of the original, now for sopranos only and providing a moment of reflection and stillness. When performing Stay with me, Lord, a legato feeling should prevail over all of the work, and, alongside the detailed dynamic markings, the powerful text should act as a guide to the musical shape.
Stay with me, Lord, for you are my life, my strength and my faith, my passion and light.
Lord, stay lest I forget you, abandon you, fall in the dark.
O Lord, my soul is poor, but let it be a home for you.
Stay with me, Lord, that I may see your will.
Stay with me, O my Lord, that I may hear your voice.
Stay with me, that I may love you.
Stay with me, Lord, that I may be true.
Stay, Jesus, stay, for the day is late, and night comes quickly.
Judgement and death, eternity come; Lord, strengthen me.
I fear the dark, the Cross, the sorrows, Lord, temptation.
O Jesus, I need you to hold me in this night of exile.
I ask no comfort but your staying, your love, your will, your light, your spirit.
I ask no other consolation. I ask no other gift but love.
Let me perceive you as your disciples in the breaking of bread.
May your Eucharist be the breaking of the day, the joy of my heart.
Lord, end this night of exile, and at my death stay with me, if not in bread, in grace and love.
Words by Ben Dunwell, based on a prayer by St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887–1968)
Both the Tenebrae version and The Sixteen arrangement of Stay with me Lord and instrumental parts are published by Boosey & Hawkes and are available in printed and digital downloadable format.