Perhaps not surprisingly, Utrecht isn’t the only city to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Vrede van Utrecht (Treaty of Utrecht) this year. Although our celebrations are the most extensive and ongoing, other cities and countries have also commemorated the historic peace agreement. The method most other cities have chosen has been a concert performance of George Frideric Handel’s Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate.
Although born and raised in Germany, Handel had settled permanently in England by 1712. He composed his Baroque choral piece for Britain’s Queen Anne in 1713, to celebrate the end of the War of Spanish Succession. The musical piece was first performed publicly at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on 13 July 1713, just a few short months after the signing of the treaty.
Now, 300 years later, this important choral piece has once again been performed in St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was part of the City of London Festival and was conducted by Jos Vermont and performed by The Toonkunstkoor Utrecht and English Chamber Choir.
In addition, the Accademia Bizantina, based in Ravenna, Italy, has been travelling in Europe, performing the Utrecht Te Deum in various cities this year. They will be performing once more in France on 28 August.
You can see a copy of the Utrecht Te Deum at the Centraal Museum, which has an extensive Vrede van Utrecht exhibit exploring both the conflict and the ground-breaking resolution. I’ll have more about the exhibit later this week.
For now, here is a sampling of Handel’s Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate: