Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling To Thread - Forum Home

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Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling

03 Sep 97 - 11:15 PM (#11784)
Subject: Twilight is stealing
From: Alice M. Cascorbi

Does anyone know the origin/full text of a song that begins:

Twilight is stealing over the sea Shadows are falling, dark on the lee Borne on the night wind, voices of yore come from that far-off shore.

My grandmother (born 1901) knew fragments of this; her ancestry included a lot of English ship's captains, but she couldn't say where this was from.


05 Sep 97 - 01:50 AM (#11859)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Dale Rose

OK. I know the song well~~it is a favorite of mine, and is done by several local musicians. However, I have only two recordings~~one recent recording on cassette, and one c. 1930 on lp. That means there is no telling where they are, or when I will find them to transcribe the words for you. I will, however, do just that, as soon as I find the time to do it. I will also do what I can to research the history of the song. (I wouldn't have mentioned this, but I don't want your request to drop off the bottom and have it forgotten. Maybe someone else who knows more about it will see it now that I have moved it to the top.)


06 Sep 97 - 12:32 PM (#11904)
Subject: Lyr Add: TWILIGHT A-STEALING (from Jean Ritchie)
From: Ferrara

I don't know much about the origins of the song, but my mother sang it when I was a kid. She was from Bowden, Georgia. I think of it as being in the southern/mountain gospel tradition. Jean Ritchie printed it, with music, in her autobiography, "Singing Family of the Cumberlands."

Here are her words:

TWILIGHT A-STEALING

Twilight a-stealing, over the sea,
Shadows are falling, dark on the lea,
Borne on the night wind, voices of yore,
Come from the far-off shore.

CHORUS:
    Far away, beyond the starry sky,
    Where the love-light never, never dies
    Gleameth a mansion filled with delight,
    Sweet happy home so bright.

Voices of loved ones, songs of the past,
Still linger round me, while life shall last,
Cheering my pathway while here I roam
Seeking my far-off home. (CHORUS)

Come in the twilight, come, come to me,
Bringing sweet message over the sea.
Lonely I wanter, sadly I roam,
Seeking my far-off home. (CHORUS)


Click to play (joeweb)


13 Sep 97 - 11:45 PM (#12268)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Dale Rose

Twilight is Stealing is by A. S. Kiefer and B. C. Unseld. It was written in the latter part of the 19th century. Kiefer, at least, was from Missouri. The version I located was in Bells of Bethlehem published by the Trio Music Company of Waco, TX and Memphis, TN in 1920. This is a paperback hymnal, similar to those of the Stamps-Baxter and Hartford companies, which were extremely popular until well into the 1960s. With only minor differences, this version is the same as that given by Ferrara, except that the last two lines of verse two are printed as the last two lines of verse three, and vice versa.


15 Sep 97 - 01:26 PM (#12310)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Alice Cascorbi

Thank you, Dale and Ferrara! This song has haunted me for 20 years and more and I never found anyone who knew it. (Guess PA and MN are north of its usual range). Bless you both.


16 Sep 97 - 12:25 AM (#12344)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Charlie Baum

It also can be found in the Christian Harmony shaped note hymn book.


10 Oct 97 - 01:50 PM (#14425)
Subject: RE: Twilight is Stealing
From: Barbara Shaw

Just discovered this thread and want to add that Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin recorded this song a few years ago. Can't remember which CD (I'm at work, info is at home). I also have an old songbook (one of the Brumley books, I think) which includes the song. Really pretty. We do it all the time. I thought I gave the lyrics to Dick Greenhouse along with many others, but guess not. . .


10 Oct 97 - 03:43 PM (#14437)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Barbara Shaw

(At home) The song was originally entitled "Twilight is Falling" according to liner notes on Stecher & Brislin's "Our Town" CD. It's in the Albert E. Brumley book "Olde Time Camp Meetin' Songs" which is a collection from the revival meetings of the early 1800's.


19 May 03 - 02:30 PM (#955588)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: GUEST,Q

In a collection of old papers from around 1910, I found a penciled copy of "Twilight is Stealing." Here is what I have found out about the song.
It was written by Aldine S. Kieffer, grandson of Joseph Funk, a Mennonite and self-taught musician, under the title "Twilight is Falling." Joseph Funk is noted for the publication in the early 1800s (Ruebush-Kieffer Publishing Co.) of "Harmonia Sacra," a large book of hymns, which is on-line, along with its Sacred Harp version. Funk was located at Singer's Glen, VA: Virginia tours
Scroll down about 1/4 of the screen and find EDOM- The note about Singer's Glen is in that section of the Univ. Virginia write-up.

The song became very popular and appeared in several gospel and hymn books. Many sources label it traditional.
There are recordings by Doc Watson Family, the Blue River Boys, Mae Robertson and Eric Garrison, and Utah Phillips, as well as Jean Ritchie Family (Folkways 1959) and Stecher and Brislin (Our Town, Rounder), both noted above.
Printed versions that I have found are close to that posted above from Ritchie, but some differences.
In the chorus, line 1, most have:
"Far away beyond the starlit skies."

Verse 2:
Voices of loved ones! Songs of the past,
Still linger round me while life shall last;
Lonely I wander, sadly I roam,
Seeking that far off home.

Verse 3:
Come in the twilight, come, come to me.
Bringing some message over the sea;
Cheering my pathway, while here I roam,
Seeking that far off home.

Two versions are in Max Hunter: Max Hunter
Both of the singers had trouble with "yore," one calling it your and the other you're.

The title is found in The Oremus "Church Hymnal" (Church of Ireland), 1874-1895, but may be another song.

I am trying to check on Benjamin C. Unseld (mentioned as co-author by Dale Rose, above) and will add any information later.

Harmonia Sacra, index page: Harmonia Sacra pdf
Both seven shape and four shape.


19 May 03 - 02:32 PM (#955591)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: GUEST,Q

Don't look for the song in Harmonia Sacra- it isn't there.


19 May 03 - 02:40 PM (#955595)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Peter T.

A Doc Watson and Family record, Songs from the Southern Mountains has it. yours, Peter T.


19 May 03 - 02:54 PM (#955605)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: GUEST,Q

All that I can find out about Unseld's connection is that he wrote the music; according to one site, in "1877." Unseld wrote music for a number of gospel poems, some in the Cyberhymnal.
Date of the original poem by Kieffer was not found.


19 May 03 - 03:01 PM (#955610)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: GUEST,Q

Biography of Benjamin Carl Unseld (1843-?) is in Cyberhymnal: Unseld


19 May 03 - 06:22 PM (#955736)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Stewie

The date given by Meade et alia is 'ca 1878'. The earliest printed reference is 'The Singing School Tribune' (Dayton Va: Ruebush, Kieffer & Co 1880). It was recorded by Dykes Magic City Trio as 'Twilight is stealing' in 1927 and by the Stoneman Family as 'Twighlight is stealing o'er the sea' in 1928, but neither of these was issued. The earliest issued recording was by The Carolina Quartet (vcl qt unacc) in September 1927 as 'Twilight is stealing' in Winston-Salem, NC, and issued as OK 45189 in April 1928. Also recorded as 'Sweet Happy Home' by Christian Harmony Singers in NYC in October 1929 and issued as Paramount 3241. [Meade et alia 'Country Music Sources' p 653].

--Stewie.


19 May 03 - 06:54 PM (#955762)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Dale Rose

Actually, Stewie, The Dykes Magic City Trio version was released on an Old Homestead LP, though now available only on cassette . That is the version I was referring to in my post of 05 Sep 97. Haven't seen that album for a while, though. Guess it is still around ~!~ someplace.


19 May 03 - 11:19 PM (#955879)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Stewie

Thanks, Dale. If I had looked in Kip Lornell's discography of Virginian music, I would have seen reference to the Old Homestead album. It was OH 191 and had 11 Dykes Magic City Trio, sides. It is curious that it did not contain the remaining 3 sides, one of which, 'Far Beyond the Blue Sky', is on the same record as 'Twilight' [Brunswick 130]. Its seems Meade's note ['not issued'] to 'Twilight' [also Brunswick 130] is an error, as he lists 'Far Beyond' as being issued.

Tony Russell, in his discography of Dykes Magic City Trio in OTM #29, writes that Brunswick's file note to 'Twilight' is that it had been printed in the Vaughan collection 'Hallelujahs for Sunday Schools, Singing Schools, Revivals & Conventions' (Lawrenceburg TN, 1922).

BTW, did you note that Old Homestead has released a 24-track CD of the Carolina Tar Heels [OH-4113]. Evidently, the sound is a bit ropey.

Regards, Stewie.


20 May 03 - 12:23 AM (#955924)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Dale Rose

Well, I spent a good while looking for the album, but it did not turn up. There are a couple of boxes way too hard to get at ~~ must be in one of them. The link above does list fourteen tracks, and I suspect my album would too if I could find it, so I suspect the discography is in error there, too.

   1. Frankie
   2. Poor Ellen Smith
   3. Huckleberry Blues
   4. Cotton Eyed Joe
   5. Tennessee Girl
   6. Ida Red
   7. Shortening Bread
   8. Golden Slippers
   9. Red Steer
10. Callahan's Reel
11. Hook And Line
12. Free As A Bird
13. Far Beyond The Blue Skies
14. Twilight Is Stealing

Yes, I DID notice the Carolina Tar Heels CD recently. I have their earlier LP, plus the one on Folk Legacy, so I think it will be a bit down the priority line for me. I think Old Homestead is ALWAYS a bit on the poor side, pretty much as Document is, BUT we should be thankful that they do it at all. They do manage to release things that no one else would.

Now if someone would just give us The Georgia Yellowhammers . . .


20 May 03 - 01:41 AM (#955949)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Stewie

Dale

Lornell's discography references the Old Homestead LP for 11 sides, but not for 'Golden Slippers', 'Hook and Line' and 'Far Beyond the Blue Sky'. Very odd! [Kip Lornell 'Virginia's Blues, Country & Gospel Records 1902-1943' Uni Press of Kentucky pp 60-62].

As for the Carolina Tar Heels, I reckon I will probably give it a miss also - I have the OH LP and one on Bear Family. If one could be sure of a significant improvement in sound quality, it would be a different matter.

--Stewie.


20 Jun 03 - 10:16 PM (#970016)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: GUEST,Jonica


21 Jun 03 - 01:15 PM (#970229)
Subject: RE: Twilight is stealing
From: Jim Dixon

Here is the entry from the Folk Music Index

Twilight Is Stealing(/Falling) - Kieffer, Aldine/Unseld, Benjamin C.
    1. Ritchie Family. Ritchie Family of Kentucky, Folkways FA 2316, LP (1959), cut#B.04 (Twilight A-Stealing)
    2. Stecher, Jody; and Kate Brislin. Our Town, Rounder 0304C, Cas (1993), cut# 9


10 Jul 08 - 03:20 AM (#2385430)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST,Howdy, my name is David Bradley

I hope all is well with you, you can contact me at yodelerdave @yahoo.com, have a great day! David bradley


16 Dec 08 - 03:15 PM (#2517094)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST,mike jones

on a post by dale rose dated may 3r, a message read "now if i can get somebody out there" to provide information about the georgia yellow hammers. charles e moody is buried in a cematary less than 1500 feet from where i live. i have done a good deal of research on the hammers and mr moody and might be able to help. mj


16 Dec 08 - 03:55 PM (#2517143)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST,DWR

Yes, Mike, about 5 1/2 years have passed since I wrote that, and we still have no CD of the Yellowhammers' work.

I know there are a bunch of us here who would be interested in what you have to say. How about starting a thread on C E Moody?


17 Dec 08 - 09:07 PM (#2518512)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST

THANK YOU DWR, I DO NOT KNOW OF AN OFFICIAL CD TRACT OF THE HAMMERS.HOWEVER, I'VE GOT ABOUT 12-16 RECORDED SONGS WHICH ARE PIECED TOGETHER FROM SEVERAL SOURCES. I AM NOT SURE HOW TO PROVIDE YOU THIS MUSIC. ANY SUGGESTIONS? MJ


18 Dec 08 - 12:03 PM (#2518986)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST,DWR

Mike, my email, at least the one I use here is dale8r AT hotmail.com.

I probably have most if not all of the ones you have, but it would be nice to talk to someone else who appreciates the finer things in life. :)


18 Dec 08 - 08:24 PM (#2519426)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST

DWR. YOU ARE SO KNOWLEDGABE, THERE IS NOT MUCH I CAN CONTRIBUTE. PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO START A BLOG FOR CHARLE E MOODY, ONE OF MY HEROES. THANKS MJ (THERE ARE SOME DEEPER THINGS INTO HIS LIFE).


21 Dec 08 - 12:49 AM (#2521093)
Subject: Lyr Add: TWILIGHT IS FALLING (Keiffer, Unseld)
From: Jim Dixon

From The Pennsylvania School Journal, Vol. XXVIII, 1879, where it is printed with musical notation in 4-part harmony:


TWILIGHT IS FALLING (sic)
A. S. Keiffer and B. C. Unseld, from "Temple Star."

1. Twilight is stealing over the sea.
Shadows are falling dark in the lea.
Borne on the night winds, voices of yore
Come from the far-off shore.

CHORUS: Far away beyond the starlit skies,
Where the love-light never, never dies,
Gleameth a mansion fill'd with delight,
Sweet happy home so bright.

2. Voices of loved ones, songs of the past
Still linger round me, while life shall last.
Lonely I wander; sadly I roam,
Seeking that far-off home.

3. Come in the twilight; come, come to me,
Bringing some message over the sea,
Cheering my pathway while here I roam,
Seeking that far-off home.


21 Dec 08 - 12:16 PM (#2521444)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: Artful Codger

Ahem, this song was written after the shape-note age, and is not arranged in shape-note style. It could not have appeared in the original Christian Harmony (Walker, 1866), and this was one of the last widely known shape-note collections printed.

Of course, older collections have since been reissued, sometimes augmented with more modern works. If this song has been added to a later edition of any of the older collections, it would be helpful to indicate which publisher and printing date/edition. However, the impression that this was originally a shape-note song (or even conforms to that tradition) is mistaken.

Lyrics and a 4-part MIDI (with gratuitous percussion added) can be found at www.pdmusic.org; scroll down to the listing under the year 1877.


23 Dec 08 - 10:57 PM (#2523507)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST,

I appreciate learning all I've read on this post about 'Twilight is Stealing'. Thanks so much, contributors! My deceased grandmother (b. 04/1884) sang it to me in my youth (I'm 49 now) but I think I only heard one or two verses from her. I also appreciate the Pennsylvania Journal link with the published song. BTW, my family is from Western PA (Pittsburgh).


14 Mar 09 - 01:45 PM (#2588835)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST,Brent

My grandparents on for several generations back were missionaries and doctors in India (Vellore near the former Madras). When they came back to the United States on Sabattical they were put up by relatives accompanied by the strains of two families living in the same house. So they bought a place on Shelter Island located east of Long Island back in 1875 and took turns living there. Although my parents generation decided to live in the US, we inherited this place on the water as two summer cottages and had wonderful campfire sings on the beach. The songs were a collection of hymns, college songs and mostly popular songs of the 20's and 30's although the younger generation made their contributions too. Over the years I was able to locate the words to all the songs that we sang EXCEPT "Twilight is Stealing". I looked in old hymnals and all sorts of old song books. I was so happy to find the words here. How this song with southern origins made it into the repertoire of these missionary descendants, I will not know but it must have been in a hymnal they knew and became a favorite.


14 Mar 09 - 01:53 PM (#2588839)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST,Brent again

It is interesting to see the slight differences in the printed versions above. We got to the point where we had forgotten some of the words and probably improvised.

The first verse our family sang went like this

Twilight is stealing, soft oer the sea
Shadows are falling soft oer the lea
Gone are the night winds, gone from the shore
Gone to return no more.


26 Mar 09 - 01:21 AM (#2597521)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing
From: GUEST,Guest Nancy

This was my father's favorite and was sung at his funeral in 1979. He was born in Dent County Missouri in 1914 from Scot-Irish ancestry. I have not seen this in print since his death. The version he had was in a very old hymnal in shape note which both my parents could sing.
I believe the song was of Scottish origin and had been revised when published in the US.


07 Dec 10 - 09:53 AM (#3048088)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling
From: GUEST,j. Krupke

See the following link http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/t/w/i/twilightf.htm


07 Dec 10 - 06:03 PM (#3048390)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling
From: Joe_F

A curiosity: On the Ritchie family's record, Jean mentions that this "isn't really a hymn", in that has no religious reference. Nevertheless, on the evidence of this thread, it has made its way into several hymnals.


24 Sep 11 - 11:09 AM (#3228325)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling
From: GUEST,Carla

I am reading Christy by Catherine Marshall and this song is mentioned on p. 169, Chapter 16, second page into the chapter.

This book is fiction but based on Catherine Marshall's mother's life who in 1912 had gone to teach in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina. The ancestry there was from Scotland. So it may have been written from over the seas. I have really enjoyed reading this book. You might too!


07 Aug 13 - 11:34 AM (#3546586)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling
From: Joe_F

It occurs to me now that both Ritchie & I were mistaken: "Twilight Is Stealing" *is* a hymn. The "mansion filled with delight" "beyond the starry sky" is Heaven -- not the singers' lost earthly home. The family evidently did not pay attention, and assimilated the song to "Home Sweet Home".


07 Aug 13 - 01:36 PM (#3546618)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling
From: GUEST,leeneia

I've made a MIDI of the melody for 'Twilight is Falling' and will send it to Joe. If you want to learn (or relearn) the song, you can play the MIDI right here while looking at the words people have posted.

The song is already on the Hymntime site, but I think it goes too fast and it's too hard to hear the melody in their version. I'm going to send my own version to Joe for posting, and if all goes smoothly, it should be here soon.

In the meantime, I think I'll print it myself and play it on the piano.

Click to play (joeweb)


07 Aug 13 - 02:53 PM (#3546652)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling
From: Joe_F

Leeneia: I think you must have misunderstood something. I already know the melody, from Jean Ritchie's LP & her book. Of course, it might be a service to post it on the DigiTrad.


07 Aug 13 - 05:01 PM (#3546687)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling
From: Joe Offer

Joe, when we have a thread on a song, we explore all aspects of a song, not just the information that was requested. Leeneia got her melody from Cyber Hymnal, and I posted a link to it in her message above. For some reason, the last note doesn't play for me, although it loads OK into Noteworthy Recorder. Anybody else have that problem with Leeneia's MIDI? The last note of mine won't play for me, either.

I did a MIDI of the Ritchie Family version of "Twilight A-Stealing," from Jean Ritchie's Singing Family of the Cumberlands (1955, Oak Publications).


Click to play (joeweb)


08 Aug 13 - 01:41 AM (#3546797)
Subject: RE: Lyr/Origin Req: Twilight Is Stealing / ...Falling
From: GUEST,leeneia

I submitted the tune so that anybody, past or future, who likes the song, can read the words, hear the tune, and learn it.

Joe Offer: when I click on the link, the entire song is there. I think the problem of the missing last note is with your computer, not mine.

But listen, I changed the instrument to a recorder because I think it sounds more like a voice. Did you change it back to piano?