Te Deum

A biretta tip   o{]:¬)  to Jeffrey Tucker over at The Chant Cafe.

Here is a version of the Te Deum.  It is  the Maîtrise of Notre-Dame in Paris (I have the CD).

If you have headphones on, you will want to turn the volume down.  No… really.

Otherwise, especially if you have big speakers, turn the volume up!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Magpie says:

    Powerful stuff. Certainly beats the usual on a Sunday in my parish.

  2. Sword40 says:

    WOW!!!! Magpie, you hit the nail on the head. Not exactly a syrup sweet hymn as we usually get.
    The FSSP parish in Seattle is having a Solemn High Mass this thursday and the guest choir is from the University of Notre Dame, (50 voices). The church also has a pipe organ. But I’m not expecting anything like I just listened to.
    Maybe someday.

  3. Marius2k4 says:

    We had the schola sing the Te Deum at my TLM wedding a year and a half or so back. It was amazing. It’s easily in my top three favorite pieces of liturgical music. We also had the Ave Maria/Angelus with the clear “Et Verbum Caro factum est” line. I get chills listening to these. They’re powerful, somehow; there’s a solemnity and a majesty that arrests your mind and your heart and refocuses you on the matter at hand.

  4. Sid says:


    Father, unless my ears and my memory fail me, is this the Te Deum that you used on 07.vii. a.D. 2007 on this blog?

  5. BT says:

    The best part is that this is just the simple Te Deum.

  6. teaguytom says:

    This is the same setting used for Vespers with B16 when he visited.
    Thankfully, neither video’s show the period when Pierre Cocherreau wreckovated it’s tonal quality with his own embellishments. It was completely restored in the 1990’s with Cavaille Colle’s beautiful sound restored and some original 18th century ranks and stops allowed to be put back in.

  7. pelerin says:

    A wonderful sound and I shall be there on Sunday! You can feel the power of the organ as you walk underneath on the way out of Notre-Dame.

  8. Jeffrey Morse says:

    Note that the choir sings only every OTHER verse of the text, the organ “singing” the missing bits. This modern example is most likely from the early 1970’s, played by the incomparable Pierre Cochereau, however the tradition is much older- one of the first mentions of this practice comes from a contemporary account of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and I have also found mention of it in the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila. It is a practice that was inspired by the last phrase of the the last psalm in the psalter- Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum, Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord! The attached clip certainly suggests praise, and indeed glory!

    The clip that teaguytom provides, while interesting, is not alternatim. The congregation can be heard singing. In true alternatim only the organ sings the missing text. The tradition continues in some places in France, and is used also with the Dies Irae, Veni Sancti Spiritus, Victimae Paschali, and other chants as well. The “Masses” of Couperin (Messe pour les couvents, Messe pour les paroisse) reflect the same tradition, as does Marcel Dupre’s 15 variations on Vespers of the BVM. The practice, while condemned by Rome at certain times, is more than tolerated now it seems.

  9. Andy Milam says:

    Wonderful….this is a glorious example of Catholic liturgical music…

  10. Maria says:

    How moving – how beautiful.
    This is exquisite.

  11. AnAmericanMother says:

    Oh my goodness. That is splendid.

    [ pout ] our parish needs a new organ [ pout ]. Our music director works wonders, but it’s an old hybrid electronic/pipe thing, anemic at best and really awful compared to this.

    The local Episcopal cathedral has one of the last of the American Æolian-Skinners . . . a bunch of us went over there late one weekday evening with microphones and digital recorders and mixers and what not and recorded one of his original compositions (think 20th c. French, heavy on the big pipes). It absolutely shook the rafters. [pout] our parish needs a new organ [ pout ]

  12. JARay says:

    Teaguytom says that Pierre Cochereau “wreckovated” the Cavaille Coll organ in Notre Dame. I don’t know about that, but the organ was indeed restored in the 1990’s. It has a truly wonderful sound not least because of its wonderful huge reeds which is a feature of French organ building.
    I must see if I can obtain a copy of this CD. Anyone wanting to hear Widor’s Tocatta from his 5th organ symphony simply must hear it played on the kind of organ it was written for i.e. a Cavaille Coll organ with those powerful reeds.

  13. Maltese says:

    Majestic, magisterial and magnificent! Thanks for finding and posting this, and for re-igniting a nascent appreciation for pipe organs in me!

  14. P.McGrath says:

    It wasn’t played by E. Power Biggs but … it was powerful and big.

  15. teaguytom says:

    Jeffrey, thanks for pointing out the alternatim. I had noticed the arrangement of the Te Deum was similar but missed that the congregation was singing with the organ.

    JARay, I guess “wreckovated” came across as a bit harsh. Cochereau was an amazing organist. What happened was there was a bit of an innovative streak in the mid 20th century in regards to pipe organ styles. Cochereau thought he was increasing the beauty of the organ, but in the process it lost it’s distinctive Cavaille Colle tone. When it was rebuilt in the 90’s, they decided that they would restore the organ with most of Cavaille Colle’s Pipework to bring back the tone. They also restored the old ranks and stops that remained from Cliqots 18th century organ. So what now exists is a beautiful compromise.

  16. NCtrad says:

    Well it ain’t “On Eagle’s Wings” sung to a strumming guitar, but it is okay I suppose.

    Thanks for posting. Simply glorious.

  17. UncleBlobb says:

    Thank you Fr. Z!

  18. Ben Yanke says:

    Wow. Somehow, I’ve never really heard the Te Deum before, but it is a wonderful hymn. I really should learn it. This arrangement wouldn’t make a bad processional or recessional, eh? (in either form).

  19. irishgirl says:

    I loved this! Gave me the shivers, but also warmed my heart and soul on this cold, snowy day in the Northeast!
    I visited Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris twice (1985 and 2000), but never got to hear the organ. I have heard it on CDs, however; loved hearing the ‘echo’ after the organist stops playing.
    I wonder if this setting of the ‘Te Deum’ is the same one heard in August 1944 when Paris was liberated from the Nazis?
    As Maggie and a few others have said, this sure beats the music heard in most parishes today!
    Ben Yanke-I’ve heard this version sung as a recessional at a convent of traditional Sisters. They always sing it at the end of their annual ceremonies of clothing and profession. It’s also on a CD of Gregorian chants that they have recorded. Their chapel bell is heard in the background.

  20. joecct77 says:

    The organ sounds like broadsides from a battleship hurled against the fortifications of the enemy.

    Guitars are like popguns.

  21. BT says:

    Ben Yanke: although I see a comment suggesting otherwise, my instinct is that the Te Deum is not perfectly appropriate for a recessional. It would more commonly be sung prior to any procession out of the sanctuary. Two reasons for this: first, the hymn is (in my view) the most proper solemn expression of Roman Catholic triumphant joy, and it is appropriate for the choir, congregation, and clergy to sing it together while all facing east. Second, on a more practical point, the hymn traditionally calls for kneeling by all present during the line Te ergo quaesumus. . . It would seem odd to do this in the midst of a procession. I admit that my instincts may be entirely off here.

  22. JMody says:

    Stirring and moving and magnificent and transporting and sublime and majestic and humbling and “terrible” (in the very old sense that no longer exists and that “terrific” does not convey) and oh-how-can-they-think-the-parish-pop-combo-is-an-equivalent-alternative are all words that come to mind …

    … and fall hopelessly short. This makes goosebumps even playing in little bass-challenged headphones.

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