This Te Deum, for solo organ, was composed by the French woman organist Jeanne Demessieux. A student of Marcel Dupré, Demessieux (1921–1968) had a brilliant international career as a virtuoso and was particularly renowned for her improvisations. She was the first female organist to perform at Westminster Abbey. The Te Deum, Op 11, was written in 1965. It is closely based on the plainsong melody and, unlike many organ works based on the chant, is not an improvisatory fantasia, but instead builds up tension through the use of ostinatos and driving rhythms, allied to a powerful, sometimes dissonant harmonic language. Finally the tension erupts into a wilder, freer section resulting in a resplendent final E major chord.
from notes by James O'Donnell © 2006