Composer: Aleksēi Federovich L'vov

[Alexis Lwoff] Born: June 5, 1798, Reval (now Tallinn), Estonia. Died: December 28, 1870, near Kovno (now Kaunas), Lithuania. Buried: Pozhaisky Monastery, near Kovno, Lithuania. Lvov’s father directed the imperial court chapel in St. Petersburg. After a tour of duty in the Russian army, Alexis took over his father’s post, and stayed in that position 24 years. He composed operas, violin music, and various religious pieces, retiring in 1867 due to deafness. Sources: Erickson, pp. 339-40 Frost, p. 681 Hustad, p. 277 Nutter, p. 460 Music: RUSSIAN HYMN  Go to person page >

Tune Information

Composer: Aleksēi Federovich L'vov (1833)
Incipit: 56653 11765 64553
Key: D Major
Source: National Air


God the All-terrible! King, who ordainest

God the All-terrible! King, who ordainest
Great winds Thy clarion, the lightnings Thy sword;
Show forth Thy pity on high where Thou reignest,
Give to us peace in our time, O Lord.

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Rise, crowned with light, imperial Salem, rise!

Christ the Victorious, Give to Your Servants

Christ the Victorious, give to your servants
rest with your saints in the regions of light.
Grief and pain ended, and sighing no longer,
there may they find everlasting life.

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Alexey Feodorovitch Lvov (b. Reval [now Tallin], Estonia, 1799; d. Romanovo, near Kovno [now Kaunas], Lithuania, 1870) composed RUSSIA in 1833 one night "on the spur of the moment," according to his memoirs, after Czar Nicholas I asked him to compose a truly Russian national anthem (rather than continuing to sing a Russian text to the English melody for "God Save Our Gracious King"!). Lvov's tune was accepted and has been featured as the Russian anthem in various compositions (including Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture). Also used as a hymn tune ever since its 1842 publication in John Pyke Hullah's Part Music, RUSSIA is today often associated with the hymn text "God the Omnipotent!" Given its origin as a national anthem, the tune does have a majestic character and suggests brass instruments for accompaniment. Part singing is glorious! To highlight the change of voice from stanza 1 to stanza 2, have a soloist or choir sing stanza 1, and ask everyone to join in on stanzas 2 and 3–or perhaps have half the congregation sing 1; the other half, 2; and all together sing 3.

Lvov served in the Russian army from 1818 to 1837, advancing to personal adjutant to Czar Nicholas I as a major-general. In 1837 he succeeded his father as director of the imperial court chapel choir in St. Petersburg, a post he retained until 1861. A fine violinist, Lvov played Mendelssohn's violin concerto in Leipzig with the composer conducting in 1840. He toured with his own string quartet until deafness forced his retirement in 1867. Lvov composed much church music for the imperial choir as well as a violin concerto and several operas. He also compiled a collection of church music for the Orthodox church year, but is best known as the composer of the tune for the Russian national anthem.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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