Friday, January 1, 2016

Two performances of the Te Deum

To be sure, the turning of the secular year is not a day of great importance to the Catholic faith. Our year of living the mysteries of salvation began some weeks ago in the Latin Church, and it began in September for Catholics of the Byzantine rite.

Yet the Church does make a concession and acknowledge the secular new year in Her way, by granting a plenary indulgence to the faithful who take part in a liturgical recitation or singing of the Te Deum laudamus on the last day of the year.  I hope you were fortunate enough to have such an opportunity near you, or perhaps will be able to gain the similar indulgence for praying the Veni creator Spiritus at some point during the liturgy on January 1.

And even without the aid of the indulgence, who would not wish to pray with the Church:
Deus, cuius misericordiae non est numerus, et bonitatis infinitus est thesaurus: piissimae maiestati tuae pro collatis donis gratias agimus, tuam semper clementiam exorantes; ut qui petentibus postulata concedis, eosdem non deserens, ad praemia futura disponas. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. 
O God, of whose mercies there is no number, and of whose goodness the treasure is infinite, we render thanks to your most gracious majesty for the gifts you have bestowed upon us, evermore imploring your clemency, that as you grant the petitions of them that ask you, you may never forsake them, but may prepare them for the rewards to come.

And so here are two performances of the Te Deum;  in the first, organist Pierre Cochereau acts as a second choir, 'singing' the melody in alternation with the choir of human voices.

Some months ago, a discussion on the Musica Sacra Forum sought to answer whether Cochereau has left us that Te Deum in the form of an arrangement; but the answer that emerged was that he likely had improvised the organ registrations which produced that performance's complex harmonies.  If any readers can add more to our knowledge of the subject, please meet us in the comment box below.

And to complement that performance, here is an expansive concert version, Kodaly's 1936 'Budavari' Te Deum: