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Anima Christi

for unaccompanied mixed choir (choral score)

Countries of delivery:
  • Cat. no. 12998


In the compositional oeuvre of Paweł Łukaszewski, many works may be perceived as documenting events from cultural life. One such example is Anima Christi (2018), scored for mixed choir a cappella. The circumstances surrounding the composing of this work are explained by the dedication inscribed in the score: ‘To Jan Łukaszewski and the Polish Chamber Choir on its 40th anniversary’. This musical gift from the composer is both a gesture of recognition for one of the finest choral ensembles in Poland, and also a token of gratitude for many years’ fruitful collaboration over the performance of the composer’s works. It comes as no surprise, then, that Anima Christi was first performed and recorded by this very ensemble (Polska Muzyka Chóralna, Dux 2018).
This choral miniature is based on words that St Ignatius of Loyola entered into his Spiritual Exercises (1522–1523). It should be noted, however, that the text was actually written two centuries earlier (14th c.), and is often attributed to Pope John XXII. The words contain references to the symbolism of the Eucharist (Christ’s body and blood), baptism (the water from Christ’s side) and the Passion (Eng. ‘Passion of Christ, strengthen me’, ‘Within thy wounds, hide me’). To this day, Anima Christi remains a well-known church prayer, sometimes performed during the liturgical celebration after Holy Communion.
Łukaszewski’s musical interpretation is couched in a multi-phase form, resulting from the individual verses, and the kind of setting triggers associations with the genre of the choral song in an A-B-A1 pattern, where A (bars 1–24) is a beseeching appeal to Christ, B (25–32) brings a climax on the words of a request for strengthening through the wounds of the Saviour and A1 (33–42) is a coda of a laudatory character.
Retained from the song genre is the idea of a principal cantilena melodic phrase (parts for 2 to 4 voices furnished with a verbal text) and an accompaniment (the remaining choral parts, sometimes performing vocalises). The middle section is distinguished by the type of vocal utterance, with a leading voice rendering the text in declamatory fashion, almost as an accentus. The composer brings out the meaning of the words, repeating the entire phrase, and reinforces the expressive tone, employing at the point of climax an ascending line and dynamics crescendoing from piano to forte. The laudatory words in the coda are picked out with syllabic singing.
Almost the entire narration unfolds in a ‘swaying’ metre, a moderate tempo and – apart from the climactic phase – a soft dynamic, which evokes the tone of a gentle plea. The composer introduces symbolic and rhetorical musical signs, such as a perfect fifth associated with the person of Christ (e.g. the opening Anima Christi), numerous motifs of seconds, thirds, fourths and even fifths adhering to an iambic rhythm, bringing to mind a supplicatory suspiratio (sigh), and ‘discordant’ dissonant sounds (quasi-parrhesia) linked to the words Passionis Christi.
The simplicity of the setting and the neotonal language (so typical of the composer’s musical idiom) allow for the main substance of the text to be highlighted and contemplated, and for the work to be used not just in concert performance, but also in the liturgy (in accordance with the established tradition).


Renata Borowiecka
translated by John Comber


  • Series: Coro
  • ISMN 979-0-2740-3636-2
  • Language of edition: pl, eng
  • Cover: without cover
  • No. of edition: 1
  • Published: 2022
  • Type: choral score
  • Size: N4 vertical (235x305 mm)

2,00 EUR
Suggested retail price.

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