te deum

The Te Deum (also known as the Ambrosian Hymn or Song of the Church) is one of the earliest Christian hymns of praise. Authorship is traditionally ascribed to Saints Ambrose and Augustine, on the occasion of the latter’s baptism by the former in AD 387. The hymn remains a regular part of Christian worship, most notably in Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran traditions. The title is taken from its opening Latin words, Te Deum laudamus, translated as “Thee, O God, we praise.” The hymn follows the outline of the Apostles’ Creed, mixing a poetic vision of heavenly worship with its declaration of faith. In May, Guy Sayles will preach a series of sermons on the themes of the Te Deum.

Te Deum
(settings by Ireland and Pärt)

Eastertide Concert
Sunday, May 18, 7:00 p.m.

Presented by the First Baptist Church of Asheville Adult Choir and String Orchestra.

The text has been set to music by many composers, most notably by Haydn, Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi, Bruckner, Dvorák, Britten, and Kodály. Sir William Walton’s Coronation Te Deum was written for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Other English settings include those by Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell, and Edward Elgar, as well as three by George Frideric Handel.

FBCA’s Adult Choir presented a concert of three Te Deum settings in 2002 including those of Haydn, Byrd and Rutter. This year, the choir will present two powerful, contrasting settings. The first will be by the British composer, John Ireland (1879-1962), and the second by living Estonian composer, Arvo Part. The Ireland treatment is in the grand Anglican style of lush choral harmonies accompanied by the colorful and dramatic sounds of the organ. The concert will conclude with the setting by Part, who won a 2014 Grammy award for his new composition, “Adam’s Lament.” Known for his minimalist style and ethereal harmonies, Part has set his Te Deum for three choirs, string orchestra and prepared piano (pieces of metal attached to the strings, resulting in a unique, other-worldly sound.) This presentation will be the Asheville premiere of this hauntingly beautiful work.

Click here for Latin text with two English translations.

Click here for video of an exquisite performance.

te deum2