Adoro te devote (by Gerald Near)

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from Saint Augustine’s Organbook by Gerald Near


This work is a prelude with four variations on the Gregorian chant "Adoro Te Devote" (Humbly we adore Thee).

The English translation for this Eucharist hymn is:

Hidden God, devoutly I adore Thee,
Truly present underneath these veils:
All my heart subdues itself before Thee,
Since it all before Thee faints and fails.

Not to sight, or taste, or touch be credit,
Hearing only do we trust secure;
I believe, for God the Son hath said it–
Word of Truth that ever shall endure.

On the Cross was veiled Thy Godhead's splendor,
Here Thy manhood lieth hidden too;
Unto both alike my faith I render,
And, as sued the contrite thief, I sue.

Though I look not on Thy wounds with Thomas,
Thee, my Lord, and Thee, my God, I call:
Make me more and more believe Thy promise,
Hope in Thee, and love Thee over all.

O Memorial of my Saviour dying,
Living Bread that givest life to man;
May my soul, its life from Thee supplying,
Taste Thy sweetness, as on earth it can.

Deign, O Jesus, pelican* of heaven,
Me, a sinner, in Thy Blood to lave,
To a single drop of which is given
All the world from all its sin to save.

Contemplating Lord, Thy hidden presence,
Grant me what I thirst for and implore,
In the revelation of Thine essence
To behold Thy glory evermore.

For a poetic translation of the text see the Wikipedia page Adoro te devote.

Registration and Organs

The following registration indications are given in Gerald Near's Performance Notes at the end of the book.[1]

Prelude: mp passages = Manuals - flutes 8' and 4'; Pedal - flue stops 16' and 8'; mf solo passages = Use a stop that is not too contrasting in color to the accompaniment. For instance, an 8' principal might sound better than a reed.

Variation I: Use strings in the left hand (coupled to a Pedal at 8' with a 16' pedal stop drawn) and an 8' flute for the right hand solo.

Variation II: Employ a light 8' reed stop for the solo, with flutes 8' and 4' to accompany, coupled to pedal with the addition of a 16' flue.

Variation III: Balance the manuals as evenly as possible and for the pedal use a 4' flue or reed stop.

Variation IV: Register with principal stops up to 2', but without mixtures.

Fingering and Pedaling

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Articulation and Phrasing

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Ornamentation is written into Gregorian Chant. No additional ornamentation is required.

Tempo and Meter

These variations are intended to be played in alternatum style between the singing of various stanzas of the hymn, during Communion. Do not attempt to play the variations as the same tempo the hymn is sung. Rather, follow the metronome markings indicated for each variation.[2]

Prelude: dotted quarter note = c. 44

Variation I: eighth note = c. 86

Variation II: quarter note = c. 54

Variation III: quarter note = c. 63

Variation IV: eighth note = c. 80

See the notes concerning rhythm that are found in Background and General Perspectives, on the St. Augustine's Organbook page.

Scores and Editions

The Service Playing exam requires the use of Aureole Edition, AE 86, distributed by MorningStar Music.


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Free Online

Adoro Te Devote (Humbly We Adore Thee) by Gerald Near, performed by Brad Cunningham

Pay to Listen

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Other Resources

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  1. Near, Gerald. Performance Notes from Saint Augustine's Organbook: Ten Preludes on Gregorian Chant Melodies for Organ.
  2. Near, Gerald. Performance Notes from Saint Augustine's Organbook: Ten Preludes on Gregorian Chant Melodies for Organ.

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