Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Stravinsky's Pater noster

With limited rehearsal time, music directors often have to resort to general texts that can be used two or three times a year. The Pater noster is a text I like to make use of frequently. In the past we've done a setting by Heitor Villa-Lobos, but recently in the library I found a setting by Igor Stravinksy which is lovely and yet doesn't require a great deal of rehearsal time. I might add that even people who automatically hate modern music may find this work to be of value.

The setting was originally written in Church Slavonic (the language used in the video below), but it has been translated into Latin as well. For all I know, there could be English versions out there, too.

When people think of Stravinsky they probably think of the Rite of Spring or something like that. In his orchestral pieces rhythm reigns supreme; there is a drive to it that is decidedly instrumental and even mechanical at times. This is not the case in the Pater noster: the text determines the rhythm. In a certain sense it almost seems like the measures could have been laid out by Dom Mocquereau.