Help finding SATB settings of the Te Deum in English
  • Dear Friends,

    Each May at the Commencement Exercises at Wyoming Catholic College, we intend it to be a custom that the choir sing the Te Deum as a hymn of thanksgiving. Last year, we used the Roman plainchant in Latin, which went well enough, but a request has been made that the choir sing it in English this May, in four parts, a cappella.

    I was wondering if any of you out there could recommend any fairly EASY setting(s) of the Te Deum in English -- any translation fine, Anglican preferred -- that we could compare and choose from. So far, the only one I have found that seems serviceable is a fairly short (under 5 minutes) setting by Thomas Tallis, but we'd like to see other possibilities as well.

    Thank you for your help.
  • Holy God We Praise Thy Name
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,209
    The Purcell setting has divided Soprano and Bass parts, so not quite SATB (more like SSATBB), and some sections are soli sections. But it is a nice work.
  • Thank you all so far. I'm glad to have the English chant setting by Fr. Kelly. Also, the Purcell looks exciting, though rather challenging.

    We thought about "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" but realized that no one really thinks of it AS the Te Deum; it just sounds like a familiar closing hymn, esp. for Benediction.

    I'm hoping to hear from people who know the Anglican tradition -- surely there must be a whole bunch of settings?
  • WGS
    Posts: 233
    just looking through my file of Te Deums:

    SSA in B flat by C. Villiers Stanford (Novello - arranged in SSA by Ernest Read - so it seems it originally was in SATB)
    SAATB by Thomas Tallis (OUP)
    SATB in B flat by Healey Willan (Novello)

    plus numerous editions by less renowned composers
  • WGS,

    Could you attach PDFs of any of the SATB a cappella settings? Composer doesn't matter so much as the relative ease of the parts (e.g., not super high Soprano or super low Bass).

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,209
    The problem is in finding a cappella settings. With the advent of organs, most settings of the Te Deum have tended to be accompanied, since it is (by and large) a hymn of praise and Anglicans love their organ-accompanied music. For typical Morning Prayer, Anglicans often simply chant the Te Deum to Anglican Chant (usually two chants, one in a major key for the beginning and end, plus one usually in a minor key for the "darker" or "more serious" middle part).
  • Hello, Peter,

    Perhaps you've already come across these on CPDL?

    A setting by Henry Smart (1813-79). I noticed a high G in the soprano part towards the end.

    Also a setting by John Stainer.

    Each of these include an accompaniment that doubles the voices.

    The hymnal "Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Canticles" includes a setting of the Te Deum in chant / fauxbourdon style at #361 (ICEL English).

    Sam Schmitt
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,209
    Given my long-term association with CPDL (which, of course, I checked) ...

    I didn't recommend either the Smart of the Stainer settings because, in fact, the organ accompaniment is more than merely a voice reduction (sorry, rich/Sam, I disagree). There are several places in the Stainer where the organ accompanies unison voices, and the piece makes not sense without the accompaniment. In the Smart, there is a long section for sopranos which should be accompanied (only the editor did not have access to the original accompaniment).
  • Sam, thanks for the recommendation of the Te Deum from the Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Cantlces (a copy of which I have thanks to you!).

    Charles, I see the problem with the Smart and Stainer. Do you have any other settings to share?
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,967
    Don't forget Mendelssohn! or the Breitkopf edition on IMSLP. This truly is a basso seguente accompaniment.

    Orlando Gibbons wrote two settings: that from the 'Short Service' would fit the bill. If "not super high Soprano or super low Bass" is one rock, Charybdis is an impossibly low alto part in music written for men and boys. But this music can work well for mixed groups if suitably transposed. CPDL has a very short fragment here from which to get an idea.

    Why a cappella, btw? If a suitable instrument is available, Ireland is the go-to version.
  • Please consider the Te Deum in B flat, Op. 10, - SATB - by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. You can find it on the CPDL and it is a choral favorite of the Anglican world. It's not difficult and moves at a fast clip so it wouldn't last long. It's great fun to sing and hear as well.
  • Thanks, CHGiffen. Looking again at the music, you're absolutely right - my error.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,209
    Richard -

    I agree about the Ireland! It's a very nice setting.
  • Richard,

    The reason for no instruments is simple: it will be sung by the choir outdoors at a graduation ceremony, and while we'll probably have a brass trio or quartet for playing other instrumental music, I would not want to see what would happen if I tried to pull them into the choir ensemble. So that's why we're looking for an a cappella setting.

    Have you seen anywhere the Gibbons Te Deum as a printed music edition?
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,967
    The Gibbons Short Service is reprinted by Kalmus and I have added it to the IMSLP wishlist
    Btw, among the new additions is this unlikely page-title for an English setting!