LAUDATE PUERI was composed by Heinz Werner Zimmermann (b. Freiburg, Germany, 1930), a widely published composer of music written in a jazz-influenced style. LAUDATE PUERI is intended for unison singing, and, like the other church works by Zimmermann, it features some vocal syncopations contrasted by a strong bass line (originally for pizzicato string bass, a favorite device of this jazz-oriented composer). The original SATB version published in Five Hymns (1973) is useful for choirs and as a concertato. This is rhythmically exciting music! A bright organ registration will help, but keep the rhythms crisp and exact. The tune name LAUDATE PUERI is the Latin incipit of Psalm 113.
Zimmermann studied at the Heidelberg School of Sacred Music, the University of Heidelberg, and the State Music Academy in Freiburg. After teaching music composition at the Heidelberg School of Sacred Music (1954-1963) and directing the Spandau Church Music School in Berlin (1963-1975), he was appointed professor of music theory and composition at the State Music Academy in Frankfurt-am-Main (1975). He has also lectured in Great Britain and the United States for extended periods and received numerous prizes for his compositions.
Regarding his hymn settings, Zimmermann wrote, "In my own hymnodic attempts I always proceed from a Bible verse. The prose of this Bible verse becomes the prototype in number of syllables and sequence of accents for the subsequent stanzas" (The Hymn, April 1973, p. 50). Zimmermann then "derives" a melody according to the declamation of the text. He mentions Jillson in connection with this setting of Psalm 113, saying, "[She wrote] three additional stanzas to my melody." So Zimmermann's tune predates Jillson's text; both were written in 1970. Zimmermann also wrote in a note to his 1957 Psalmkonzert that the jazz idiom is the only modern style that can express true religious joy.