Orthodox Sacred Music Reference Library

Kopylov, Alexander


KOPYLOV, Alexander Alexandrovich (b. July 2, 1854, St. Petersburg; d. February 7, 1911, Strelna near St. Petersburg)—composer, church choirmaster, violinist, pedagogue. From 1862 to 1872 was a boy chorister of the Imperial Court Chapel. Afterwards, upon the recommendation of Mily Balakirev, studied composition privately with Anatoly Lyadov and musical form and instrumentation with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. From 1872-1879. worked as a violinist and pianist in the Alexandrinsky Theater Orchestra, also performiing as a solo violinist. From 1879- through the1890s. served as an adult singer and assistant teacher of singing at the Court Chapel, while teaching violin, piano, church singing and liturgics in the Chapel’s instrumental and choirmasters’ classes. He also taught church singing at the Smolny Institute, and worked with the choirs of the Pavlovsky and Preobrazhensky Regiments. In 1907-1908. he led the open choir directing class at Stepan Smolensky’s Choirmasters’ School.

Kopylov’s involvement with philanthropist and music publisher Mitrofan Belyaev’s circle contributed to the flourishing of his compositional activity, and led to the publication of a number of works for piano, chamber ensembles, and symphony orchestra—works characterised by a strong influence of the composers of the "Mighty Five", especially Alexander Borodin.

Kopylov’s sacred music is the best known and oft-performed part of his creative legacy. He composed over 30 sacred choral works (including large cycles—the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Wedding Service), published by Bernard (1885) and P. Jurgenson (1889-1907), respectively. The critic Archpriest Mikhail Lisitsyn characterized some of Kopylov's sacred hymns as “simple and well-constructed,” while others feature more complex in harmonic and polyphonic writing, but in general are written in a churchly style that is graceful and beautiful. Some of Kopylov’s works were included in the repertoire of the renowned Moscow Synodal Choir.

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No. 19 Tebe poem

We Hymn Thee


PJu #26871

First printed edition.




No. 1 V Velikuiu Subbotu "Neporochny"

The Lamentations at Matins of Holy Saturday

Greek Chant


Blessed art Thou, O Lord

Blagosloven esi, Gospodi

Ps. 117


PJu #17423

First printed edition.




No. 4 Venchanie


Glory to Thee, our God

Slava Tebe Bozhe nash


PJu #19938

First printed edition.