Die Nacht ist kommen

Meter: 5.6. 5.6. 5.6. 5.
Composer: Petrus Nigidius, 1550
Proper Text: Night Is Upon Us (Die Nacht ist kommen)

Zahn No. 5001

This tune first appeared in Petrus Nigidius’s collection of four-part settings of melodies written according to Classical meters, Geminae undeviginti odarum Horatii melodiae, Frankfurt a.M., 1550, No. 30, where it served as the tenor part of a composition entitled, “An Ancient Melody for the Sapphic Stanza,” joined to a Latin text by Hermann Busch. A scan is available here.

Petrus Nigidius, No. 30:

The tenor part was taken up as a hymn tune with slight alterations to the melody, though the meter remained intact, when it was joined to Petrus Herbert’s evening hymn, “Night Is Upon Us (Die Nacht ist kommen),” in Kirchengeseng darinnen die Heubtartickel des Christlichen glaubens kurtz gefasset vnd ausgeleget sind, 1566, No. 53, p. 263r, a scan of which is available here. As the German interpretation of the Sapphic stanza developed away from the authentic metrical pattern (trochee + spondee + dactyl + trochee + spondee) toward a more popular form (dactyl + spondee + trochee + trochee + spondee), the meter itself was altered to its present form by Johann Hermann Schein in his Cantional, 1627.