Dona Nobis Pacem - Grant Us Peace

For Soprano Solo
Children's Choir
and either
Instrumental Ensemble
or Full Orchestra

Publishers: Fanshawe One World Music
Sheet Music Publishers: Hal Leonard Music
Full Score & Band Parts Rental & Purchase:
Fanshawe One World Music US & UK

Dona nobis pacem (A Hymn for World Peace) was commissioned by Nicholas Oppenheimer. The original ensemble arrangement was first performed in October 1994, in Poole, Dorset, by soprano Wilhelmenia Fernandez; the Choristers of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor; and the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, conducted by Neville Creed. This concert, filmed by BBC Television, celebrated the launch of the premiere recording of African Sanctus and Dona nobis pacem (Silva Classics). The symphony orchestra arrangement of Dona nobis pacem was commissioned by Whitgift School for their Millennium Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London, April 2000, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Tinker. The short version of this new symphonic arrangement, was premiered at Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, USA, in May 2004, conducted by John Egbert.

"This setting of Dona nobis pacem completes the text of the ‘Agnus Dei’ heard in African Sanctus. It is written as a gesture of thanks to the world I have been privileged to see and experience in my time. This work, a paean for today, expresses my innermost feelings that reach out far beyond Africa, to a limitless horizon of hope for the future and love for the world. In effect, I have composed two works - short and long versions - which attempt to explore the myriad of possibilities which relate to the opening four note motif ‘Dona nobis’. The main difference is that the long version develops the soprano solo into a dramatic recitative ‘Gratias agimus tibi Domine’, which then resolves back to the home key of F. The short version, without recitative, ends with a long undulating antiphonal diminuendo, on an unresolved suspended chord of D. Both versions conclude with the word ‘Pacem’ expressing a prayer for peace and reconciliation." DF

The conductor Julian Williamson writes: "Musically, Fanshawe’s Dona nobis pacem derives from much of the material in African Sanctus. The opening statement is in fact an inversion of ‘Et in Spiritum Sanctum’ and a reworking of the final ‘Gloria’. Composed in F, the home key of the ‘Sanctus’, it is based on a canonic structure in which the themes are handed round from voice to voice and instrument to instrument. This allows a text which began in a deliberately simple way to build to one of considerable complexity and power and at the very point when the contrapuntal ideas reach their height, they are interrupted by the soprano soloist’s dramatic recitative (long version). This by its short, stark phrases, throws into relief the long rolling lines which have preceded it, after which the canonic idea is resumed and the sound is allowed to sink back gently into peace whence it emerged."


A Hymn for World Peace


  Soprano Solo
Children’s Choir (or Selected Voices)
SATB Voices
2 Trumpets in B Flat (optional)
Lead Guitar
Bass Guitar (fretless optional)
Timpani (Percussion 1)
Percussion 2 Tam-tam, large sus. cym.,
Bass Drum, Timpani dbl.
Percussion 3 Afro-Congas or LA Congas
Percussion 4 Ethnic drum(s) - optional
slit log gong / wood log, or poss. marimba)
Harp (optional, see note)
Organ (optional, see note)
NOTE: Where resources are limited, use the combined Keyboard parts:
Harp/Organ (Electronic Keyboard)
or Harp /Organ /Piano (Pianoforte)


  Soprano Solo
Children’s Choir (or Selected Voices)
SATB Voices
2 Flutes (2nd dbl. Piccolo)
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets in B Flat
2 Bassoons
4 Horns in F
2 Trumpets in B Flat
2 Trombones
Bass Trombones
3 Percussion Tam-tam, Sus. cymbal
Piatti, Wood log gong/slit log
Congas, Bass drum
Harp (lightly amplified)