The deer’s cry
dates from the same year as Morning star
, 2007. Pärt responded to a commission from the Louth Contemporary Music Society in Ireland by setting the closing verse of ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’. Known also as the Lorica of St Patrick, this text may, or may not, date back to Patrick’s own lifetime in the fifth century. A Lorica, taking its name from the Latin for a shield or armour, came to be known as a verbal inscription on the shield of a knight, a prayer for recitation before going into battle. In the case of St Patrick, the story goes that he and his followers evaded ambush in a forest by reciting this prayer, and by their foes seeing them pass by as a doe and twenty fawns; hence the Lorica’s other name, The deer’s cry
. With the piece’s rootedness in A minor emphasizing the incantatory nature of the prayer, a gently cumulative quality rises to a fairly un-Pärtian descending sequence on ‘Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me’.
from notes by Meurig Bowen © 2014