Festival Te Deum
In 1974 I was approached by John Birch, the organist of the Chichester Cathedral, to write a festive setting of the Te Deum for the enthronement of the Rt. Rev. Eric Kemp as Bishop of Chichester. The previous year John had stepped into the breach at 24 hours notice to conduct my “Three Medieval Lyrics” during a tour of the United States by the London Bach Society, and the experience was clearly positive enough for him to want to work with me again! At the first performance on October 25th 1974 the organ accompaniment was augmented by the trumpets and trombones of Gabrieli Brass, but one of the conditions of the commission was that it should also be suitable for normal liturgical use with organ only. John also asked for an alternative triumphant ending to allow the music to conclude before the final prayer “O Lord, save thy people”. It was that version that was used for the first performance, rather than the quiet reflective ending that is my preferred choice.
© Christopher Brown 2011