This Te Deum, which, like its predecessor, is in C major but has no need for soloists, was the result of a commission from the Empress Marie Thérèse. This lady, who was the wife of the Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II, is not to be confused with Maria Theresa who was Empress of Austria in her own right during Haydn’s youth and after whom his Symphony No 48 is named. According to Haydn, Marie Thérèse had a ‘pleasant but weak voice’ but she did, on one occasion, sing the soprano part in a performance of The Creation
. She was an enthusiastic admirer of Haydn’s music and did all she could to promote it at court. Her Te Deum is in one continuous movement which falls into three sections. The opening allegro deals with the first part of this Latin hymn from the words ‘Te Deum laudamus, te Dominum confitemur’ (We praise thee, O God: we acknowledge thee to be the Lord) to ‘Judex crederis esse venturus’ (We believe that thou shalt come to be our judge). Then follows the verse beginning ‘Te ergo quaesumus famulis tuis subveni’ (We therefore pray thee, help thy servants) and this is marked adagio. From the words ‘Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari’ (Make them to be numbered with thy saints in glory everlasting) until the end of the work the marking is allegro moderato.
from notes by Peter Avis © 2014