Charpentier Te Deum, H. 146

Charpentier composed his grand polyphonic motet Te Deum in D major, H. 146 between 1688 and 1698, during his stay at the Jesuit Church of Saint-Louis in Paris, where he was musical director. The work is written for the group of soloists, choir, and instrumental accompaniment.Charpentier authored six Te Deum settings, although only four of them have survived. The instrumental introduction, composed in the form of rondo, precedes the first verset, led by the bass soloist. The choir and other soloists join gradually. Charpentier apparently intended to orchestrate the work according to the traditional exegesis of the Latin text. The choir thus predominates in the first part (praise of God, heavenly dimension), and individual soloists in the second part (Christological section, secular dimension). The composition is scored for five soloists (SSATB) and choir (SATB), accompanied with an instrumental ensemble of 2 flutes or recorders, 2 oboes, 2 trumpets, timpani, 2 violins (2 violins for the bass solo "Te deum laudamus"), 2 violas, and basso continuo. After the work's rediscovery in 1953 by Carl de Nys, the instrumental prelude was chosen as the theme music preceding the broadcasts of the European Broadcasting Union. After over sixty years of use notably before the Eurovision Song Contest, the prelude, as arranged and directed by Louis Martini and Guy Lambert, has become Charpentier's best-known work.


Te Deum Prelude