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Track(s) taken from CDA66315

Te Deum in D major 'Queen Caroline'

first performed 26 September 1714
author of text
Book of Common Prayer

New College Choir Oxford, The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor)
Recording details: May 1988
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: February 1989
Total duration: 12 minutes 1 seconds


'An imaginative programme of infrequently performed music by a great composer is always welcome, and this one should make a wide appeal' (Gramophone)
The Queen normally took little interest in her composers, being (according to the Duke of Manchester) ‘too busy or too careless to listen to her own band, and had no thought of hearing and paying new players however great their genius or vast their skill’. It is maybe surprising, therefore, that she granted Handel a pension of £200 a year for life. But the Queen’s health deteriorated, and by September 1714 Britain had a new monarch. Handel’s previous Hanoverian employer arrived in Britain, and one of the first engagements for the new George I was to attend morning service at the Chapel Royal where ‘a Te Deum was sung, composed by Mr Handel’. This seems to have been the ‘Queen Caroline’ setting, and Handel’s position with the new ruler appears to have been secured.

The ‘Queen Caroline’ Te Deum was performed twice that year, first on September 26, and then again on October 17. It too looks back to Purcell in some of its construction, particularly the ‘Vouchsafe’ which has much in common with Purcell’s own 1694 setting of the same text. (Handel, though rude about many of his contemporaries, revered Purcell: at a performance of Jephtha he countered a remark that a passage reminded one of the listeners of Purcell with ‘If Purcell had lived, he would have composed better music than this’). But Handel’s Te Deum also shows the influence of the opera (in which he was already proving a great success), particularly in the tenor aria ‘The glorious company’, and the lyrical aria for alto and solo flute ‘When thou tookest upon thee’.

from notes by Robert King © 1989

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