Te Deum

Composition Date: 1995
Revision Date: 1995
Genre: Choral (9 + Voices), With Chamber Ensemble (2 - 9 Performers), Percussion, Keyboards


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Timpani
  • 1 x Organ
  • 1 x Mixed chorus
Click here to download full work (15.38 Mb - Not printable)

Programme Note:
The Te Deum was commissioned in 1994 by the South African Foundation for the Creative Arts for the UNISA Choir with a request for a setting in both English and Afrikaans languages. Preparing an Afrikaans translation of the standard English text version of the Latin Te Deum was an initial (and formidable) challenge. Finishing the translation first, however, had the advantage that the music could be written with both texts in mind, aiming at synchronizing imagery, syntax and even specific vowels and consonants where possible. I also worked on another requirement of the commission, specifically to incorporate African musical motifs and rhythms into the work, recalling features of African songs and dances I had heard in South Africa in my earlier years. The result is a blend of, on the one hand, European choir / organ traditions (drawing on elements of European church music as diverse as Plainsong, Genevan Psalm, organ toccata, motets, and anthems), and some African elements on the other. The descending melodic fourth motif, first heard in the organ introduction and later in various transformations in both the organ and choir, is one that is often heard in African songs, including the refrain section of the well-known N'Kosi Sikilele i Africa (but used in the Te Deum with more of a dance rhythm). Complimentary to this motif is a rising second motif as well as a free quote from the opening line of the Genevan Psalm 116 melody, which appears initially in the opening alto-line and later more explicitly in the a cappella choir unison sections (m.187-207 and 456-477).

Performance: To ensure proper dynamic balance between singers and organ (prescribed stops / timbres), a fairly large choir (minimum 120) is desirable. Should a smaller choir be used, it will be necessary to lighten the texture of the organ stops and/or closing the swell box without sacrificing the basic timbre (e.g. brilliancy and transparency, a reed basis prescribed, etc.). The constant change in metre from 3/8 to 2/8 in sections of the work may pose somewhat of a challenge for the performers. To produce the desired rhythmic effect, the eighth note value should remain constant, but it should be done with flexibility (as happens naturally in musical cadences), stretching the 2/8ths ever so slightly without approaching 3/8ths duration. The timpani should be kept light in dynamics, more dance-like than dramatic, except where the text requires darker shading of sound (e.g. m.316-339).


  • Call Number:
  • MV 6231 K66te
  • Genre:
  • Choral (9 + Voices), With Chamber Ensemble (2 - 9 Performers), Percussion, Keyboards
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • July 9, 1999
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (39 p.) ;
    39 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Parts page count: 32
    2 parts ((32) p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • For SATB chorus, timpani and organ.
    1 score (68 p.) + 1 chorus score ((2), 23 p.) + 1 timpani part (2), 8 p.) ;
    Words in Afrikaans or English.
    (Ms) photocopy; master copy of score, chorus score and timpani part in CMC Toronto.
    Commissioned by the South African Foundation for the Creative Arts.
    Premiere: May 2, 1997, West End Christian Refomed Church, Edmonton, AB; Da Camera Singers, Marnie Giesbrecht, organ, Trevor Brandenburg, timp., Trent Worthington, cond.
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Available Products for this piece:

TitleDetailsPriceAdd this Product
Te Deum: Score and Parts
Score and Parts
(downloadable PDF)
Te Deum by Jacobus Kloppers (Score)
Printed on demand
Te Deum by Jacobus Kloppers (Score and Parts)
Printed on demand
Te Deum: Score
(downloadable PDF)
Te Deum
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