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Track(s) taken from CDA67557

Te Deum in C

First line:
We praise thee, O God
1934; written for Maurice Vinden and the choir of St Mark's, North Audley Street, London, who gave the first performance in 27 January 1936
author of text
Book of Common Prayer

Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor), Robert Quinney (organ), Yeachan Park (treble)
Recording details: June 2005
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: November 2005
Total duration: 8 minutes 21 seconds

Other recordings available for download

Holst Singers, Stephen Layton (conductor), David Goode (organ)
St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor), Andrew Lucas (organ), Connor Burrowes (treble)
Benjamin Scott-Warren (treble), Dorothy Hoskins (soprano), Harriet Hunter (soprano), Jesus College Choir Cambridge, Mark Williams (conductor), Bertie Baigent (organ)


'James O'Donnell proves himself master of two Westminster traditions: the Collegiate Abbey style is as assured as his former 'continental' Cathedral persona. Best are the persuasively-layered Britten Te Deum, and conspicuously bouncy Walton Jubilate. The Tomkins reponses almost purr with effortless control' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is glorious music sung to perfection' (American Record Guide)

'I'm so taken with this program that I frankly rebel at the notion of spending one sentence, much less a paragraph, on the topic of alternative recordings' (Fanfare, USA)

'The setting's generous acoustics play their own part, bathing the entire recording in a warm, luxuriant glow. Those with even the vaguest interest in choral music will undoubtedly want to add this fine recording to their collection' (HMV Choice)
Benjamin Britten’s early Te Deum in C dates from 1934 and is the first of two settings of that text in his small output of church music. It is an effective work of great economy and formal clarity. From the outset the organ asserts itself as equal partner to the choir which grows from a hushed beginning with a simple chord of C major, edgily underpinned by the organ pedals’ bell-like marcato, into a dramatic cry of ‘Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth’, at which point the music suddenly leaves C major for the first time, eventually settling gently into a peaceful A major. Now a treble soloist takes over (‘Thou art the King of glory, O Christ’), the organ pedal motif still in evidence, and the choir gently echoing the words ‘O Christ’. At ‘O Lord, save thy people’ the opening sound and style returns, skilfully using the basic chord of C major to build tension and excitement towards the climax ‘And we worship thy Name’ and animato coda (‘Vouchsafe, O Lord: to keep us this day without sin’), giving way finally to the serene ‘let me never be confounded’ which returns us to the low-lying C major with which we began.

from notes by James O'Donnell © 2005

Pièce de jeunesse (1934), le Te Deum en ut de Benjamin Britten est le premier des deux Te Deum de ce compositeur qui produisit peu de musique liturgique. C’est une œuvre efficace, d’une grande économie et d’une grande clarté formelle. D’emblée, l’orgue s’affirme comme l’égal du chœur qui, partant d’une ouverture étouffée, avec un simple accord d’ut majeur nerveusement soutenu par le marcato carillonnant du pédalier de l’orgue, enfle en un cri dramatique («Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth»); pour la première fois, la musique abandonne soudain ut majeur pour s’installer doucement en un paisible la majeur. Un treble solo fait alors son entrée («Thou art the King of glory, O Christ»), avec le motif au pédalier toujours en évidence tandis que le chœur fait tendrement écho aux mots «O Christ». «O Lord, save thy people» marque le retour du son et du style initiaux, et utilise avec art l’accord basique d’ut majeur pour mener la tension et l’animation jusqu’à l’apogée («And we worship thy Name») et à la coda animato («Vouchsafe, O Lord: to keep us this day without sin»), avant de céder la place au serein «let me never be confounded», qui nous ramène à l’ut majeur grave du début.

extrait des notes rédigées par James O'Donnell © 2005

Benjamin Brittens frühes Te Deum in C entstand im Jahre 1934 und ist die erste von zwei Vertonungen dieses Textes in seinem kleinen kirchenmusikalischen Oeuvre. Es ist wirkungsvolles und sehr sparsam angelegtes Werk von besonderer formaler Klarheit. Die Orgel ist von Anfang an dem Chor gegenüber gleichrangig, der von einem gedämpften Anfang mit einem schlichten C-Dur-Akkord, der vom Orgelpedal nervös von einem glockenartigen Marcato begleitet wird, in einen dramatischen Ruf „Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth“ ausbricht. An dieser Stelle verlässt die Musik die Tonart C-Dur plötzlich und zum ersten Mal, um dann allmählich in ein friedvolles A-Dur hinüberzuwechseln. Nun erklingt ein solistischer Knabensopran („Thou art the King of glory, O Christ“), das Pedalmotiv der Orgel ist noch immer wahrnehmbar und der Chor wiederholt sanft die Worte „O Christ“. Bei „O Lord, save thy people“ kehren der Eröffnungsklang und -stil zurück, der einfache C-Dur-Akkord wird geschickt dazu eingesetzt, Spannung aufzubauen und zum Höhepunkt „And we worship thy Name“ und zur Coda („Vouchsafe, O Lord: to keep us this day without sin“, mit animato markiert) hinzuführen. Schließlich erklingt das heitere „let me never be confounded“, das zu dem tiefliegenden C-Dur zurückführt, mit dem das Werk begann.

aus dem Begleittext von James O'Donnell © 2005
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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