Poor In Spirit is a one-movement work for improvising soloist and a capella SATB choir. The first performance was given by the Eric Whitacre Singers at Union Chapel in London, March 5th, 2015 with the composer as soloist, conducted by Eric Whitacre. This performance was subsequently released on iTunes, on the EP Live At Union Chapel.
The text is a simple quote from the book of Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Christ spoke often of poverty and the perils of wealth. In this context one can take it as spiritual or economic poverty; both seem relevant states in the modern world. This text is also a dedication to the Chapel where the work was premiered, which also doubles as a homeless shelter.
— Jeff Beal
Although scored for Flugelhorn in B-flat, the work can be performed by any solo string, wind, or brass soloist. The two soprano descants can be sung from other locations in the venue (loft, balcony, etc.) for a more antiphonal effect.