Handel: Te Deum for the Victory at the Battle of Dettingen, HWV283

Edited by Amanda Babington
Bärenreiter BA10706, 2015
xiii+140pp, £30.50
Vocal score BA 10706-90, 2015
ix+84pp, £12.50
Parts: Wind set £30.50, organ £15, strings £4.50 each

The edition is essentially based on the composer’s first draft, which in this case needed no second draft; the end is missing but was later replaced by John Christopher Smith Jr. There is no critical commentary, but it is hardly needed.

George II was present at the Battle of Dettingen on 27 June 1743. The music was completed by the end of July (thus overlapping with Semele). Five rehearsal took place from 26 September to 18 November, the last being “rehearsed before a splendid Assembly in Whitehall Chapel” (i. e., The Banqueting House). There is a complex mixture of borrowings from a Te Deum  setting by Francesco Antonio Urio (c. 1630-c1720). Three copies of that work survive, one of them perhaps the one acquired by Handel in 1706; it would be useful if the Urio sections had been listed somewhere, or perhaps indicated in the new edition.

This is an excellent edition, with performance material very reasonably priced. So far the Utrecht Te Deum  (with its matching Jubilate) is the most popular of Handel’s settings, but this new edition will perhaps encourage choirs to think about programming it in their concert schedules.

An alternative is available from King’s Music / The Early Music Company, which was published in 2009: A4 score £25, B4 score £30; vocal score £9; set of parts £50 with extras at £4 each.

Clifford Bartlett