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Te Deum Laudamus

A Thanksgiving for Victory

From The Times, Monday, June 9, 1902.





After the lesson, the Bishop, dean and canons having taken their places in the Sanctuary, the Te Deum was sung. The musical version selected was the last completed work of the late Sir Arthur Sullivan, and was written expressly for a peace thanksgiving. The orchestral part is intended to be performed by organ, brass instruments, and strings; but, the notice being short, it was found impossible to secure a complete orchestra, and brass instruments and organ were alone employed.

The work, which is written in the key of E flat, begins with a short instrumental introduction, in which the composer makes use of the opening seven notes of his hymn tune, “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” The Te Deum then opens with a unison passage for the voices, and proceeds with broad choral effects, mostly diatonic.

Perhaps the most notable feature occurs at the words “Holy, Holy, Holy,” which are sung in unison at the same pitch, the basses and tenors being on the highest and the trebles on the lowest register of their voices. As it reaches the words “The glorious company of the Apostles” the music becomes more animated. There is a soft middle part beginning with the words, “When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man,” while the passage beginning “Thou sittest at the right hand of God” is introduced by the trebles, the music becoming slightly animated, and ending with a figure which is employed through two or three pages of the work. At the passage beginning “Vouchsafe, O Lord: to keep us this day without sin” the air of “Onward, Christian Soldiers” is again introduced, the tune being ultimately played through twice by the band.

This Te Deum will be again performed on July 3, when the King visits St. Paul’s to give thanks after his Coronation, and it will be performed by a very largely augmented choir and orchestra.

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