The Te Deum
, with its intoxicating, repetitive melody and ecstatic accumulation of praise, is the great celebratory Hymn of the medieval Latin church, often mentioned in chronicles of the crusades. These sources frequently refer to the ringing of bells during the Te Deum
, a manner of performance which, in the crusader kingdom established in 1099, was not just a continuance of a performance practice often associated with sequences on the most festive days, but was also an assertion of Latin Christian identity, powerfully invested in the bell. As Latin chroniclers often remark, the Orthodox Church and the religion of Islam do not use metal bells.
from notes by Christopher Page © 1998