Stravinsky’s “Our Father”

Though Igor Stravinsky was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church as an infant, he abandoned religion as a teen, but rediscovered it in his forties in Paris, and remained a committed Orthodox Christian until his death in 1971. After the rediscovery of his childhood faith, he began composing spiritually-themed music to both Latin and Slavonic texts. His most famous work that emerged from this post-re-conversion period is the beautiful Symphony of Psalms, in which he set the text of three psalms for chorus and orchestra, with the explicit instruction that it should never be performed in any language other than Latin. It was also around this time that he composed a setting of the Ave Maria in Latin, for a capella choir. In 1926 he composed this setting of the Lord’s Prayer in Slavonic, originally for mixed choir.

In 1980 a collection for male chorus commonly referred to as the Rimsky Sbornik (full name: Сборник песнопений Божественной Литургии, or Collection of sacred chants of the Divine Liturgy) was published. As this was toward the end of the Brezhnev era, there were no resources for a professionally-engraved edition, so this collection was published as a mimeograph of handwritten music. The editor of this collection, one “L.P.”, arranged Stravinsky's “Our Father” for male chorus. This arrangement in the original Slavonic is presented here.

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Liturgical Use