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Three Vespers from "All-Night Vigil"

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Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff (arr. Timothy Salzman)

General Info

Year: 1915 / 2008
Duration: c. 8:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: A capella chorus
Publisher: Nihon Parusu
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $100.00


1. Bless the Lord, O My Soul – 3:45
2. O Gladsome Light – 2:40
3. Rejoice, O Virgin – 1:50


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The hauntingly beautiful All-Night Vigil by Sergei Rachmaninov is one of the great sacred choral treasures of the 20th century. This lush and virtuosic masterpiece, for unaccompanied chorus in its original form, captures both the spirit of the Orthodox Church and the soul of Russia. For the original choral setting Rachmaninov chose fifteen major psalms and hymns that form the unchanging framework of the Resurrection Vigil. The sublimely peaceful chant-based music was Rachmaninoff's reaction to the destruction of Europe during World War I, and is widely recognized as the finest of the composer's, and Russia's, sacred choral compositions.

In this arrangement by Timothy Salzman three of the fifteen movements have been set for the concert band: Mvt.II Blagoslovi,Dushe Moya, mvt.IV Svete Tikhyi. and mvt.VI Bogoroditse Devo. Each is beautifully scored and serves as an excellent performance work as well as a worthwhile study in blend, intonation, balance and sensitive musical phrasing. The slow tempi allow the players great opportunity to develop their critical listening and performing skills. Each band that studies, rehearses and performs this work will receive a great dividend in terms of their overall approach to musical performance.

- Program Note from publisher

The All-night vigil is a service of the Eastern Orthodox Church consisting of an aggregation of the three canonical hours of Vespers, Matins, and the First Hour. It emphasizes the ancient tradition of communal prayer. The vigil is celebrated on the eves of Sundays and major liturgical feast days. Rachmaninoff’s setting -- one of the most famous -- consists of 15 works for a-capella choir. The first performance was given in Moscow on March 10, 1915, and proved to be an immediate success. Despite his reputation as a pianist and instrumental music composer, the All-Night Vigil remains as one of Rachmaninoff’s most cherished works.

Vespers is a sunset evening prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and other Christian liturgies of the canonical hours. The word comes from the Greek “hespera,” meaning “evening”. Pliny the Younger (c. 61–113 AD), who lost his father in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, speaks of liturgical reunions in the morning and evening in his famous letter at the beginning of the second century: “coetus antelucani et vespertini.” Vespers, therefore, together with Vigils, is the most ancient service known in the Church. Depending on the time of year, the solemn service typically took place between 4 and 8 o’clock p.m. and featured the lighting of candles, lanterns, torches, and lamps that represented “an infinite light.”

- Program Note by Matthew Sadowski for the University of Georgia Hodgson Wind Symphony concert program, 8 February 2018

The All-Night Vigil is an a cappella choral composition by Sergei Rachmaninoff, his Op. 37, premiered on 23 March 1915 in Moscow.

The piece consists of settings of texts taken from the Russian Orthodox All-night vigil ceremony. It has been praised as Rachmaninoff's finest achievement and "the greatest musical achievement of the Russian Orthodox Church". It was one of Rachmaninoff's two favorite compositions along with The Bells, and the composer requested that its fifth movement (Nunc Dimittis) be sung at his funeral.

Note: The title of the work is often mis-translated as simply Vespers. This is both literally and conceptually incorrect as applied to the entire work: only the first six of its fifteen movements set texts from the Russian Orthodox canonical hour of Vespers.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Central Washington University (Ellensburg) Symphonic Winds (Paul Bain, conductor) - 30 November 2021
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Symphonic Band (Matthew Sadowski, conductor) – 8 February 2018
  • University of Nevada (Reno) Symphonic Band (Jim Cochran, conductor) – 15 March 2006 (CBDNA 2006 Western/Northwestern Division Conference, Reno, Nev.)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • All-Night Vigil (Rachmaninoff), Wikipedia Accessed 8 February 2018
  • Rachmaninoff, S.; Salzman, T. (2008). Three Vesper from All-Night Vigil [score]. Nihon Parusu: Osaka, Japan.
  • Timothy Salzman, personal correspondence, February 2018