Saturday, December 31, 2016

Te Deum laudamus!

On the last day of the year, it is traditional to sing or recite the Te Deum, so here are some links to performances to inspire your own recitation:

The prelude to Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Te Deum:


In this performance, organist Pierre Cochereau acts as a second choir, ‘singing’ the simple-tone chant melody (PDF) in alternation with the choir of human voices. His organ registrations were probably improvised:



For versions by Victoria and Bruckner, and in English by Howells, Tallis, and Gibbons, see Ben Yanke’s series of “Te Deum Tuesday” posts.

A favorite of mine, ever since singing it long ago, is Kodály’s epic choral/orchestral version:



And here from Romania is Verdi’s Te Deum from the Four Sacred Pieces; this performance from a festival I never heard of gets the piece better than some ponderous renderings under big names:



But I began by suggesting your own recitation, and the Church rewards it today with her own spiritual support. The Manual of Indulgences reminds us that (under the usual conditions):
A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful devoutly assist either at the recitation or the solemn singing of
  1. the Veni Creator, either on the first day of the year to implore divine assistance for the course of the whole year, [...]
  2. the Te Deum, on the final day of the year, to offer thanks to God for gifts received throughout the course of the entire year.
[Chant scores are at the two links above.]

Happy New Year!
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