Te Deum laudamus/We Praise Thee O God
Te Deum laudamus/We Praise Thee O God. Greatest non-biblical hymn of the Christian church. It has been translated from the Latin into many languages and has been sung in worship since the fifth century in innumerable settings, including several by Canadians. In 17th-century Canada the Te Deum was sung on ceremonial and festive occasions, such as the baptism of the Micmac chief Membertou and his tribe by the Jesuit Jesse Fléché in 1610, and during Bishop Laval's welcome to the lieutenant-general of the forces, Marquis de Tracy, 30 Jun 1665 (Jesuit Relations).
Two Te Deums by James P. Clarke were published in his Canadian Church Psalmody (Toronto 1845). Before 1867 Nordheimer published a Te Deum and Jubilate by the Toronto organist Henry Martin, and in 1888 the same firm issued a Te Deum by the Winnipeg organist Frederick Jaffery.
Of four choir-and-organ settings by Healey Willan the earliest, in B flat (B252, 1906, H.W. Gray 1909; F. Harris 1937), requires a baritone soloist; an E-flat one (B254, 1912) was not published; a second Te Deum laudamus in B flat (B53), completed in 1937 for the coronation of George VI and published in 1938 by Harris, specifies 'double choir with antiphons' (a later version with organ accompaniment was published by Peters in 1963 as Festival Te Deum, B259); and the last one, in F (B260, 1953, rev 1955), was published by Concordia in 1956.
Sir Ernest MacMillan's setting with orchestra (1936), written for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir's 50th anniversary and premiered on that occasion in 1937, has been sung 1948, 1956, 1968, and 1976 by that choir, on the last-named date with the MSO at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games.
Other 20th-century settings by Canadians include Placide Vermandere's, commissioned by the CBC, premiered 13 May 1945 to mark the end of World War II, and repeated in 1947 and 1957; Arthur Egerton's (Western 1950); Gerald Bales', with trumpets and timpani (Waterloo 1962), written for the Cathedral Church of St Mark, Minneapolis and a second one (1986) for male chorus and organ; Derek Holman's (1983) for mixed chorus and orchestra; Roger Matton's, with baritone and orchestra (1967), dedicated to the Quebec Symphony Orchestra on its 65th anniversary and premiered 27 Nov 1967; Barrie Cabena's, for unison voices, choice of keyboards, and optional trumpet (Jaymar 1967), written for the choirs and congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan; and F.R.C. Clarke's Festival Te Deum premiered 11 Mar 1973 in Kingston.
A Te Deum (1950) by Violet Archer makes non-specific use of the title to convey the general intention of her three-movement setting of verses from Psalm 104, Psalms 13 and 30, and the Apocrypha.
See also Roman Catholic church music.