The Te Deum is a Christian hymn. Its original text was Latin. It is named after the first few words, Te Deum laudamus (We praise thee, O Lord). It was probably written around the 4th or 5th century. Most say that either Augustine of Hippo or Ambrose wrote it. Some say it was by Nicetas, bishop of Remesiana. Others have said that the hymn was taken from two (or more) earlier hymns: one to God the Father and another to God the Son. After this idea, the second hymn begins with the phrase Tu rex gloriae, Christe. The petitions at the end of the hymn (beginning Salvum fac populum tuum) are from verses from the book of Psalms, added to the original hymn later on.
Te Deum is close in theology to the Apostles' Creed. It has both a poetic view of the heavenly liturgy with a declaration of faith. "God" is named from the start of the song. The hymn then names all people who praise and respect God, from the hierarchy of heavenly creatures, to Christians who are already in heaven, to the Church in all the world.
Te Deum then returns to its creedal formula, singing about Christ and remembering His birth, suffering, and glorification. Then the hymn stops singing about praise, both the Church in general and the singer himself, and asks for mercy on past sins, protection from future sin, and the hope to be reunited with Christians in Heaven.
Many people have written music for the text. Such as Bruckner, Verdi, Berlioz, Dvořák, Haydn, Britten, and Mozart, just naming a few. Antonio Vivaldi wrote a setting of the Te Deum (RV 622), but it is now lost. The prelude to Charpentier's setting (H.146 in Hugh Wiley Hitchcock's catalogue) is well known in Europe because it is used as the theme music for the European Broadcasting Union, most notably the Eurovision Song Contest. Sir William Walton's Coronation Te Deum was written for the coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. Other English Te Deums have been written, such as the ones by William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell, three by George Frideric Handel (Utrecht Te Deum, Dettingen Te Deum and Queen's Te Deum) and that of Edward Elgar, his Op. 34. A version by Father Michael Keating is popular with Charismatics. Mark Hayes recently wrote his own version of Te Deum, and British composer John Rutter has composed two, one of them is just titled the traditional "Te Deum," the other "Winchester Te Deum." Igor Stravinsky set the first 12 lines of the text as part of The Flood in 1962.
Latin and English TextEdit
|Latin text||English translation of the Book of Common Prayer (1662)|