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Composer: Mary J. Hammond (1920)
Published in 21 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Composer: Mary J. Hammond

Born: 1878, England. Died: January 23, 1964, Hilligdon Nursing Home, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England. Near the end of her life, Hammond lived in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. --www.hymntime.com/tch/ Go to person page >

Tune Information

Composer: Mary J. Hammond (1920)
Incipit: 17564 32551 12353
Key: D Major
Copyright: Public Domain


The name SPIRITUS VITAE derives from the Latin translation of Bessie P. Head's text "O Breath of Life, " for which Mary Jane Hammond (b. England, 1878; d. St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, 1964) composed the tune around 1914. That text and SPIRITUS VITAE were first published in Heavenly Places and Other Messages (1920). Little is known about Hammond except that she lived in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, toward the end of her life and died at the Hillingdon Nursing Home in nearby St. Albans. One of few tunes that begin on their highest tone, SPIRITUS VITAE virtually repeats lines 1 and 2 in lines 3 and 4, with only a cadential change. Antiphonal performance is appropriate if the entire psalm is sung. The setting with the melody in the tenor, composed by Emily R. Brink (PHH 158) in 1987, is well suited for a choral stanza or as an alternate organ setting. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988


The Cyber Hymnal #4704
Text: O Breath of Life
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #28
Text: O LORD My Rock, in Desperation
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
Worship and Rejoice #328
Text: O Breath of Life


Instances (1 - 16 of 16)

Ancient and Modern #615a


Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #476

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #43


Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #237

Text InfoTune InfoScoreAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #28

TextPage Scan

Sing Joyfully #152

Singing the Faith #391


The Cyber Hymnal #4704

TextPage Scan

The Worshiping Church #299


Together in Song #409

Together in Song #495

TextPage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #341

Page Scan

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #395


Voices United #202

Voices United #203

TextScoreAudioPage Scan

Worship and Rejoice #328

Include 5 pre-1979 instances
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