Musical Mediation: Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil (also known as Vespers) (No. 5)
The first time I heard this piece, a setting of the Nunc dimitis, the canticle known as the Song of Simeon from the Gospel of Luke, I was moved to tears. This is a beautiful rendition sung by the Princeton University Glee Club, with a wonderful tenor soloist and those LOW, LOW basses the Russian composer loved.
Rachmaninoff wished for this piece to be sung at his funeral, but it was not. Perhaps there were not enough low basses available. At any rate, it is fitting music for Lent.
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
according to thy word;
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
which thou hast prepared before the face of all people,
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.