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Evening Bells

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Evening bell

Evening Bells

"Evening bells" is a brilliant translation into Russian of the poem "Those Evening Bells" of Thomas Moore.  Along with Dark EyesOdnozuchno gremit kolokolcik, and Those Were the Days this is is one of the most popular  Russian folk songs in foreign audiences.

The author of the translation into Russian was a Russian poet, contemporary of Alexander Pushkin, Ivan Kozlov. This popular Russian song was written in 1828 by Ivan Kozlov with lyrics from the Russian-themed verses by Thomas Moore (see Digital Collections - Music - Ketten, Henry, 1848-1883. Those evening bells [music] ) & adapted by S Sveshnikov.

Evening bell, oh evening bell,
How many memories it arouses

About the days of youth at my home-place,
Where I loved, where my fatherґs house is,

And how I, parting from it for a long time,
heard the bells there for the last time.

And so many are no longer among the living now
Who were happy and young then.

Evening Bell (song) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In 1818 Thomas Moore published his first collection of National Airs, a collection of songs which included his verses and musical scores by John Andrew Stevenson. The title of one verse from the Russian airs was Those Evening Bells with the subtitle Air: The bells of St.Petersburg. It starts with:

Those evening bells! Those evening bells!
How many a tale their music tells,
Of youth, and home, and those sweet time,
When last I heard their soothing chime...

Moore mentioned that the verse was based on a Russian original, but all attempts to find the original failed. One hypothesis put forward in 1885 traced the source of the song to George the Hagiorite, an Orthodox monk and writer of the 11th century from the Iviron monastery on Mount Athos). Soviet researchers tried to prove the link, but found no traces of such a song. The most likely conclusion is that the verse is Thomas Moore's original creation loosely based on Russian-related themes.[1]

The verse was quite well known in the English-speaking world, e.g., it was satirised by Thomas Hood (Those Evening Bells, those Evening Bells, How many a tale their music tells, Of Yorkshire cakes and crumpets prime, And letters only just in time!.[2] It was listed in the dictionary of familiar quotations from 1919.[3]

Kozlov's translation[edit]

Kozlov was a Russian poet in his own right, but also a prolific translator of contemporary English poetry (translating Byron, Charles Wolfe and Thomas Moore). His Russian text published in 1828 is more like an adaptation of the English original, as Kozlov used six-line stanzas instead of quatrains of the original, while being still faithful to the general mood and the rhythmic structure of the source (iambic tetrameter). His adaptation is credited with greater elaboration of the context, grounding the abstractness of the original with specific examples.[4]

Thomas Moore Ivan Kozlov Literal back translation
Those evening Bells
(Air: The bells of St.Petersburg)
Вечерний звон
Evening bell
Those evening bells! Those evening bells!
How many a tale their music tells,
Of youth, and home, and those sweet time,
When last I heard their soothing chime.
Вечерний звон, вечерний звон!
Как много дум наводит он
О юных днях в краю родном,
Где я любил, где отчий дом,
И как я, с ним навек простясь,
Там слушал звон в последний раз!
Evening bell, evening bell!
How many a thought it inspires.
Of youth days in my native land,
Where I loved, where my father's house is.
And also of the moment when leaving it forever,
I was hearing the bell there for the last time!

When Kozlov published this verse, the original text was not mentioned. Combined with the fact that Moore's text claimed to be based on a Russian original, this brought some erroneous attributions (as early as in 1831) that Moore's verse is a translation of Kozlov's.[1]


Soon after publication of the Russian translation, it was made into a song by Alexander Alyabyev, also in 1828.[5] This music became immensely popular and resulted in variations on the same theme, as well as in completely different songs based on the same translation.

The English original itself was published with music composed by John Andrew Stevenson. It also resulted in several other songs:[6]

External links

Different versions of the song performed by Nicolai Gedda,  and Yuri Wichniakov:

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Old News ;-)

[Mar 19, 2017] Вечерний звон (Evening Bells) - Alexandrov Red Army Choir (2006)

[Jan 06, 2017] Church choirs performances

[Jan 05, 2015] Random findings

[Jan 05, 2015] Сергей Захаров - Вечерний звон

[Dec 23, 2014] Nicolai Gedda Večerni zvon (The evening bell)

Evening Bells : Vecernij Zvon (Evening Bells) : Boris Shtokolov Vecherniy zvon (Those Evening Bells)

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