Maynooth Te Deum

Programme Note: John Buckley

Maynooth Te Deum was commissioned by St Patrick’s Maynooth College as part of its bicentennial celebrations in 1995. The work is written for the three College choirs - Large chorus, Chamber choir and Male voice choir - Soprano, Contralto, Tenor and Bass soloists, Organ and large symphony orchestra. The work was first performed in the National Concert Hall, Dublin on November 16th 1995 with the following performers: Regina Nathan (s), Collette McGahon (a), Emmanuel Lawler (t), Eugene Griffin (b), Maynooth College Choirs, Gerard Gillen (org), National Symphony Orchestra, Colman Pearce (conductor).

In general terms, the music for the large chorus (movements 1, 2, 4, 6, 8) is direct in style, employing either block chords or alternately, fugal style textures. The male voice choir (movement 7) has a gently flowing chromatic movement, whose origin lies in plainchant. The music for the chamber choir (movements 3 and 7) uses a more complex harmonic and textural approach while the four soloists have long elaborate melodic lines, frequently in counterpoint with each other or with the choirs.

In writing the piece I have attempted to capture something of the sonorous majesty of the text, which ranges from celebratory declamations to passages of intimate supplication. The work falls into eight movements: nos. 2, 3 and 4 are performed without a break as are movements 6 and 7.

1. Te Deum laudamus
After a clamorous orchestral opening making much use of tubular bells, glockenspiel, vibraphone and crotales, the movement provides a contrast between the laudatory passages for the large chorus and the more intimate lines of the soloists.

2. Tu Rex gloriae
The opening declamation leads to a four part fugal setting of Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius. (Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father) Solo horn leads directly to the third movement.

3. Tu ad liberandum
Solos for soprano, contralto, tenor and bass are interwoven with the chamber choir in a more restrained reflective movement. The short dramatic cadenza for the four soloists on the words regna caelorum (kingdom of heaven) soon fades into the tranquil conclusion. Movement four follows directly.

4. Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes
A short movement with the same formal plan as movement two.

5. Te ergo quaesumus
Tenor, Contralto, Soprano and Bass soloists are heard in turn with elaborately ornamented vocal lines; short choral sections provide a contrast.

6. Aeterna fac
A short movement contrasting the homophonic opening and conclusion with a more contrapuntal middle section. It leads directly into movement seven.

7. Salvum fac populum
The gently flowing unison or octave lines of the male voice choir are taken up by the soprano and contralto soloists before being developed into a four part texture by the chamber choir.

8. Per singulos dies
Musically, this movement provide a varied recap of the first movement, with some new material for the soloists.



1. Te Deum laudamus

Male voice choir, large chorus,
soprano, contralto, tenor and bass soloists.

Te Deum laudamus:
Te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem
omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli,
tibi Caeli, et universae Potestates,
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim
incessabili voce proclamant;
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra
majestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum
sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae majestatis;
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.

We praise Thee, O God,
We acknowledge Thee as Lord.
Thee, the Father everlasting,
all the earth doth worship.
To Thee all the angels,
to Thee the heavens, and all the powers,
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim
cry out without ceasing:
Holy, holy, holy
Lord God of hosts.
Full are the heavens and the earth
with the majesty of Thy glory.
Thee, the glorious choir of the apostles,
Thee,the admirable prophets,
Thee, the white robed martyrs praise.
Thee throughout the world
the holy Church doth confess:
the Father of incomprehensible majesty;
Thine adorable, true, and only Son,
and the Holy Ghost the Paraclete.

2. Tu Rex gloriae

Large Chorus

Tu rex gloriae Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.

Thou, O Christ, art the King of glory.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.

3. Tu, ad liberandum

Chamber choir,
Soprano, Contralto, Tenor and Bass soloists

Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominen,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.

Thou, in order to deliver man,
dids't not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Thou, having overcome the sting of death,
hast opened to believers the kingdom of heaven.

4. Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes

Large Chorus

Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes
in gloria Patris.
Judex crederis esse venturus.

Thou sittest at the right hand of God,
in the glory of the Father.
Thou, we believe art the Judge to come.

5. Te ergo quaesumus

Large Chorus
Soprano, Contralto, Tenor and Bass soloists

Te ergo quaesumus,
famulis tuis subveni,
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.

We beseech Thee, therefore,
to help thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.

6. Aeterna fac

Large Chorus

Aeterna fac cum Sanctis tuis
in gloria numerari.

Make them to be numbered with Thy saints
in glory everlasting.

7. Salvum fac populum

Male voice choir, Chamber choir,
Soprano and Contralto soloists

Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine,
et benedic hereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos
usque in aeternum

O Lord, save Thy people,
and bless Thine inheritance.
And govern them, and exhalt them for ever;

8. Per singulos dies

Male voice choir, Chamber choir,
Large chorus, Soprano, Contralto,
Tenor and Bass soloists

Per singulos dies benedicimus te;
Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum,
et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto
sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri, Domine,
miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine super nos,
quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi;
non confundar in aeternum.
Te Deum laudamus:
te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem
omnis terra veneratur.

Day by day we bless Thee.
And we praise Thy name for ever;
and forever and ever.
Grant, O Lord, this day,
to keep us from sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord,
have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
as we have trusted in Thee.
In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted;
let me not be confounded for ever.
We praise Thee, O God,
We acknowledge Thee as Lord.
Thee, the Father everlasting,
all the earth doth worship.