An Evening Hymn

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Instrumental Only?

For SATB Choir and Organ. This is a choral version of Purcell's famous solo song. Could also be done with harpsichord and cello, or any basso continuo-type instrument. (We included a cello part!)

An Evening Hymn is the opening work of Henry Playford's 1688 collection Harmonia Sacra and is set to words published in Nahum Tate's collection of moralizing poems for children. Throughout the song, Purcell uses a repeating five measure figure known as a ground bass. It can be heard in its entirety at the very beginning of the song. Atop that he writes a melody that sometimes matches the five-measure phrase of the bass an other times doesn't - it is this tension that propels the work forward and makes it continuously interesting.


Now that the Sun hath veil'd his Light,
And bid the World good Night;
to the soft Bed, my Body I dispose,
But where shall my Soul repose?
Dear God, even in Thy Arms, and can there be
Any so sweet Security!
Then to thy Rest, O my Soul! And singing, praise
The Mercy that prolongs thy Days.