Domine salvum fac praesidem nostrum, Op. 8, 1915. John Knowles Paine, 1839-1906. Music Division, Library of Congress. Call number: M1540.P2 D5
John Knowles Paine composed Domine salvum fac praesidem nostrum soon after accepting a music-instructor position at Harvard University. Written for the inauguration ceremony of Thomas Hill as Harvard President, the work premiered on March 4, 1863. The composer conducted members of the college choir, the Harvard Music Association, and the Germania Orchestra. The piece was repeated on October 19, 1869, for the inauguration of Hill's successor, Charles William Eliot.
The Latin text translates "Lord, make safe our President [Protector], and hear us favorably on the day in which we call in respect." In Paine's setting this is followed by the Gloria Patri doxology.
The work begins with an orchestral introduction in the French Overture style, followed by a declarative choral statement of the opening line of text. The piece continues in ternary structure. The main theme is introduced by the chorus in m. 19, the middle section follows with a change of character and texture (solo quartet) in m. 43, and the original theme returns at the Gloria Patri in m. 87. Although largely forte and full-textured, the anthem includes several key moments of dynamic contrast and surprising a cappella choral phrases (mm. 27-28, mm. 55-60).
Domine salvum fac praesidem nostrum was published in 1915 by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, featuring a piano reduction of the orchestral score by Paine's student, Arthur Foote.