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Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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An Evening Hymn, for soprano solo and unaccompanied choir, was commissioned by the Chichester Festival with funds provided by the Southern Arts Association. The first performance was given by Chichester Cathedral choir conducted by John Birch on 17 July 1979. The opening harmonies give way to a faster, more rhythmic section in compound time at the words ‘Thou whose nature cannot sleep’. After a mighty climax the opening harmonies return once more to close the work.
The night is come, like to the day;
Depart not Thou, great God, away.
Let not my sins, black as the night,
Eclipse the lustre of thy light.
Keep still in my horizon; for to me
The sun makes not the day, but thee.
Thou whose nature cannot sleep,
On my temples sentry keep!
Guard me ’gainst the watchful foes,
Whose eyes are open while mine close,
Let no dreams my head infest,
But such as Jacob’s temples blest.
While I do rest, my soul advance,
Make my sleep a holy trance.
That I may, my rest being wrought,
Awake, into some holy thought.
And with an active vigour run
My course as doth the nimble sun.
Sleep is a death; Oh! make me try,
By sleeping, what it is to die:
And as gently lay my head
On my grave, as now my bed.
Howe’er I rest, great God, let me
Awake again at last with thee,
And thus assured, behold I lie
Securely, or to wake or die.
Oh! come that hour, when I shall never
Sleep again, but wake for ever!