"All Praise to You, My God, This Night" by Thomas Ken
As the end of a day approaches, our thoughts tend to dwell on ourselves – on our accomplishments and failings of the day past, or on our plans for the following day. Thomas Ken's evening hymn "All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night" suggests a different pattern of thought: praising God for His blessings, seeking forgiveness from God and neighbors, and committing the night to rest in preparation for serving God the next day. The hymn concludes with a doxology, ending as it began with an exclamation of praise.
In the late seventeenth century, Anglican Bishop Thomas Ken wrote a trio of hymns for prayer at morning, evening, and midnight. They were first published in 1695 in the appendix to A Manual of Prayers For the Use of the Scholars of Winchester College, with the admonition for the students to sing them "in your chamber devoutly." "All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night" is the evening prayer.
The text originally had twelve stanzas, of which only the first five and the last – Ken's famous doxology, "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow" – are sung today. The original opening words, "Glory to thee my God" are usually altered as "All praise to Thee, my God." The text has been fairly stable, but some modern hymnals have a short, modernized version of four stanzas.
TALLIS' CANON is also known as EVENING HYMN, after its association with this text. Thomas Tallis wrote nine psalm tunes for Matthew Parker's Psalter from the 1560s. The first eight were composed to the eight church modes, in consecutive order. This tune is the eighth, hence another alternate title, THE EIGHTH TUNE. Thomas Ravenscroft shortened Tallis's tune by removing repeated phrases for his Whole Book of Psalmes (1621); this shortened version is the tune used today. TALLIS' CANON was first paired with Ken's text in Smith and Prellieur's The Harmonious Companion (London, 1732).
This hymn can be sung for an evening worship service or prayer meeting. Since the tune is simple and well known, it is a good choice for congregational singing in a round, with or without accompaniment. One choice of accompaniment for such singing is Scott Hyslop's "Tallis Canon: A Festive Hymn Setting", an arrangement for organ, brass quartet, and congregation. Douglas Wagner has also written a canonic setting of an altered version of this text, titled simply "The Tallis Canon" for two to four groups of voices and accompaniment. He has also written a handbell medley of ODE TO JOY and TALLIS' CANON as part of "Ring for Joy! – Volume 2". "Great Evening Hymns for Manuals" by Charles Callahan contains an organ improvisation on TALLIS' CANON.