- 1) The major hour of the divine office of the Roman Catholic rite sung in the evening. Sundays and important feasts are allotted two vespers services, a first vespers that begins the feast on the preceding evening and second vespers that concludes the feasts on the day itself; ferial days have a single vespers in the evening. Vespers always begins with the versicle Deus in adjutorium. Then come a number of proper psalms with antiphons, five in the medieval Benedictine vespers. On Sunday, Psalms 110–114 (Vulgate numeration) are sung, and the weekdays would continue in order through 147, omitting psalms sung at other hours. Solemn feasts might require particular psalms.The psalmody is followed by a brief Bible reading (Capitulum, "little chapter") and a proper hymn. (In medieval monastic practice an ornate chant called a great responsory preceded the hymn.) After another versicle comes the Magnificat framed by an antiphon for the day, followed by one of the four Marian Antiphons. The versicle Benedicamus Domino concludes the service.2) (All-Night Vigil)A setting of the Russian Orthodox night-long service sung in monasteries and, on the eve of holy days, in churches, composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff (Op. 37) in two weeks spanning January and February 1915, and premiered on 10 March 1915 in Moscow. Scored for unaccompanied chorus, it requires about 65 minutes. Nine of the 15 prayer settings used melodies drawn from znamennīy chant, Byzantine chant, and Kievan chant. The music throughout, while clearly of the late 19th century, is syntactically conservative, diatonic, and dominated by step-motion melodies and homorhythmic textures that recall the Russian traditions of sacred music.
Historical dictionary of sacred music. Joseph P. Swain. 2006.