When my Australian Facebook friend, Sean Henderson, suggested some contemporary composers for my listening pleasure, he mentioned Pēteris Vasks, a composer from Latvia I had never heard of. I found his orchestral works very attractive and approachable, so I did a quick search to see if he had also written for organ. That is when I discovered “Te Deum.”
“Te Deum” is one of the most emotionally compelling organ compositions I have ever heard. Vasks builds intensity by repetition of musical material eliciting, for me, the feelings of despair, hope, and quiet joy.
He wrote “Te Deum” for the two manual Klais organ of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan. However, when I played through the work at home, I envisioned it on a large organ in a cathedral-sized building. Keeping with the Klais Neo-Baroque esthetic, I chose as my recording platform a four manual organ – the sounds of the gorgeous 87 stop “Sonnenorgel” from Görlitz, Germany, which resides in a church with cavernous acoustics.
I hope you enjoy it.
(Those who watch the video will notice that there have changes to the sample set. These are by Jake (). These include extending all keyboards to 61/32, making the Oberwerk expressive, extending all celestes down to low c, and adding charades (Dom Bedos, Marcussen) to the fourth manual.)