Wednesday, October 10, 2007

'Our Father' in French

Month before last, I posted a video of Kedrov's setting (in Slavonic) of the Lord's Prayer. Here's the French version by Maurice Duruflé. His original was for unison voices and organ (what you hear first); he then arranged it for four parts, unaccompanied (what you hear second). I wish this were a better recording, and that's no reflection on the singers. It's just that the audio and video aren't the best. No matter. You can still get a sense of the piece. Notice that Duruflé moves phrase by phrase in what is more or less the rhythm of speech. It's chantlike. The score goes back and forth between two and three beats to a measure.

These settings of the Lord's Prayer by Duruflé and Kedrov are my favorites. Both are 20th-century works, so they qualify as contemporary Christian music. Duruflé's, a mere thirty years old, is dedicated to his wife, Marie-Madeleine: à ma femme.

Here is the text:
Notre Père qui es aux cieux,
que ton Nom soit sanctifié,
que ton règne vienne,
que ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel.
Donne-nous aujourd'hui notre pain de ce jour.
Pardonne-nous nos offenses,
comme nous pardonnons aussi à ceux qui nous ont offensés.
Et ne nous soumets pas à la tentation,
mais délivre nous du mal.