Te Deum – one of the oldest Roman Catholic Latin hymns – forms part of the Liturgy of the Hours (the Office of Readings, formerly Matins), which in the Middle Ages was included in the Roman Breviary. According to tradition, it should also be sung at thanksgiving services, for example at the end of the Resurrection procession, and complemented by excerpts from religious songs in national languages. Penderecki did the same, setting not only the full 29-line text of the hymn of praise, thanksgiving and supplication, but also a fragment of Boże, coś Polskę (God Thou Hast Poland), which even functioned in some periods as the national anthem. The work consists of three parts, setting the three sections of the text: praise of God, of the dead then resurrected Christ, and a prayer for the Christian people. The words are distinctly audible as we hear the same text in all the voices. Some sections are highlighted as refrains of repeated fragments, or due to their specific instrumentation. This is the case with the incipit “Te Deum laudamus, Domine” (“We praise Thee, O God”), the phrases “Miserere nostri” (“have mercy upon us”) and “In saeculum et in saeculum saeculi” (“ever world without end” – translations from The Book of Common Prayer). The quotation from God Thou Hast Poland appears before the third part of the hymn, at the point of the golden section, and plays the role of an “inverted” culmination, as it is sung quietly and as if from a distance (quasi da lontano). Penderecki’s Te Deum is full of contrasts, changing tempi and textures; its musical language is modern, but draws abundantly on tradition. The composition makes use of elements from Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, Baroque musical rhetoric and melody and harmony of neoromantic provenance, as well as “pure sound” effects well known from the composer’s earlier music. His Te Deum can be interpreted in many ways. Composed to honour the newly elected Pope John Paul II, it continues the tradition of hymns written for special occasions in European music history, such as Te Deum by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, celebrating the French victory in the Battle of Steinkirk in 1692, and William Walton’s Te Deum for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. Roman Palester, another Polish composer paid similar homage to John Paul II with his Te Deum: Hymnus pro gratiarum actione of 1979. As for Penderecki’s piece, it has often been discussed with reference to current socio-political events as a vision of the fate of the nation (the piece was completed three weeks before “the Polish August” of 1980). Penderecki’s work is also an authentic, personal profession of faith.