Lent is approaching fast: Ash Wednesday is just over a week away. This is one of our last chances to get in a joyful sacred composition by our old friend Joseph Haydn before the penitential season begins.
Today’s selection is a setting for the ancient prayer Te Deum (see my discussion of the prayer itself below the video). This is the third different setting of the Te Deum I’ve posted on this site. Last year I shared a very recent composition (as in, premiered in December 2019) by Pedro Camacho. I also posted a version by Domenico Scarlatti that was first performed in the 1720s.
Haydn’s magnificent setting was probably composed in 1799, and had its public premier in 1800. Haydn wrote the piece at the request of the Empress Maria Theresa, for which reason it is known as (what else?) The Te Deum for the Empress Marie Therese. The Aylesbury Choral Society has published a brief but very informative explanation of this wonderful sacred composition HERE. I’m really not sure who is performing the piece in the video below, other than they’re boy singers (sängerknaben), along with somebody named Diego. Whoever they are, they do a fine job. Take a few minutes to enjoy their performance of a great composer’s masterful musical rendition of a beautiful ancient payer: