Vesper Hymn (Bortniansky, Dmytro)

Authorship Note
There is little evidence that this composition is by Bortniansky: it appears to be a pastiche by John Stevenson. See Comments below.

Sheet Music


PDF scanned by D-Mbs
Fynnjamin (2016/12/6)

Arranger John Stevenson (1761-1833)
Editor First edition
Publisher. Info. London: J. Power, 1818. Plate 356.
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Arrangements and Transcriptions

For Tenor and Male Chorus (Dana)

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Feduol (2023/10/16)

Arranger Arthur Dana (fl. 1896-1925)
Publisher. Info. Choruses for Men's Voices Based on Folk-Songs, Classical Melodies Etc., No.491
Boston: Arthur P. Schmidt, 1925. Plate A.P.S. 13561-1.
Misc. Notes This file is part of the Indianapolis Maennerchor Archive.
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For Mixed Chorus (Dumas)

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Fynnjamin (2016/12/9)

Arranger Edmund Dumas (1810-1882)
Publisher. Info. Original Sacred Harp
Atlanta: J.S. James, 1911 (1921 reprint).
Misc. Notes First published in 3-part harmony; the alto line here is by Seaborn McDaniel Denson.
Title: The Weeping Saviour. Text by Isaac Watts, "Alas and did my saviour bleed".
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For Mixed Chorus (Swan)

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Fynnjamin (2016/12/17)

Arranger William H. Swan (1798-1859)
Editor Marcus Lafayette Swan (1827-1869)
Publisher. Info. The New Harp of Columbia
Knoxville: the authors, 1867.
Misc. Notes 3-part harmony: Treble, Tenor (melody), Bass.
Title: Bequest; Text also by Thomas Moore, "When in death I shall calm recline".
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For Harp (Aptommas)

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Jiloxiga (2013/12/11)

Arranger Thomas Aptommas (1829-1913)
Publisher. Info. New York: J. F. Browne, 1854.
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General Information

Work Title Vesper Hymn
Alternative. Title Jubilate
Composer Bortniansky, Dmytro
I-Catalogue NumberI-Cat. No. IDB 13
Text Incipit Hark! the vesper hymn is stealing
First Publication. 1818
Librettist English text by Thomas Moore
Language (English - see below)
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Classical
Piece Style Classical
Instrumentation mixed chorus (SATB), piano
Related Works Variations etc.:

Possible model:

External Links Article

Navigation etc.

  • A hymn tune, commonly attributed to Bortniansky, but not clearly identified as part of Bortniansky's published works:
  • Grove Music does not list this hymn in Bortniansky's work list; according to, "no tune resembling this one has been found in that Russian composer's published works.
Stevenson is generally recognized as being the arranger if not also the composer".
A footnote states that the final 8 bars of the melody are "added to the original Air by Sir John Stevenson."
  • Stevenson never attributed it to Bortniansky, but "claimed that the Duchesse de Broglie, the daughter of the legendary Madame de Staël, had brought this tune to his attention: "It was she who danced to it five or six years ago, and called it a Cossack Dance [...] it was in a private society I saw her dance that tune about seven or eight years ago [...]...she had heard it in France as a Cossack Air, and always considered it as such". [see article linked above]
  • Since the first known version of this work is Stevenson's, and that work was in English, it has been tagged for English.
  • Some mid-19th century German versions exist, called Russischer Vespergesang or Russische Abendhymne, with text beginning "Horch die Wellen tragen bebend sanft und rein den Vesperchor" or "Horch des Abendliedes Hallen" or "Horch die Abendhymne schallet" or "Süßer Heiland dir gehöret aller Menschen Dank und Ruhm".
  • Further English texts set to the melody include: "Now, on sea and land descending" by Samuel Longfellow; "Tarry with me, O my Father" by Caroline S. Smith; "Saviour! breathe an evening blessing" by James Edmeston.