NEW MUSIC: Anthony Pither – Pater Noster

20 March 1999   Anthony Pither: Pater Noster.
For double string quartet, single wind and brass.

In a concert on Saturday 20 March, which is part of the Department of Music’s Spring Programme, the Helix Ensemble gives a first performance of Pater Noster by Anthony Plither, the University’s Director of Music. At a preview to this concert, he reveals the inspirations behind his composition its structure and its mood…

This work, which lasts roughly ten minutes, has two starting points. both called Pater Noster; one is Stravinsky’s short choral prayer, the other, the continual moving boxes that provide an alternative to the lift, and which take me to the dizzy heights of the eighteenth floor of the Attenborough Building – the home of the Music Department at Leicester University.

Both Stravinsky’s piece and the boxes move slowly. The prayer is like harmonized plainsong, while the wooden boxes – as a colleague once remarked -assist one in reaching the state of nirvana.  As one slowly ascends, the views of Leicester subtly change. L did not set out to create an image of heaven, though one hopes the image is therapeutic.

The music is, scored for double string quartet with single wind and brass. Most instruments are allowed to shine as soloists, even if only briefly. The work is conceived as a rondo of three revolving sections, with the main concentration of Stravinsky’s theme coming in the middle

The ending – the last two bars – is Stravinsky s Amen from his setting. Pater Noster was written for the Helix Ensemble in the summer of 1993.

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