Listen: God Be Merciful

From the archival recording of the world premiere, performed by Westminster Choir College's Kantorei under the direction of Andrew Megill.

For information on performing this work or obtaining a perusal score, please contact SDG.


Additional performances

May 11, 2012
Westminster Kantorei, Andrew Megill, conductor
Bristol Chapel, Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ

April 29, 2012
Westminster Kantorei, Andrew Megill, conductor
Emanuel Lutheran Church, Pottstown, PA

September 16, 2012
Cor Cantiamo, Eric Johnson, conductor
College Church, Wheaton, IL

March 10, 2013
University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM) Chamber Choir, Earl Rivers, conductor
The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, KY


About the composer

No composer has made such an impression on contemporary Swedish musical life as Sven-David Sandström. His catalogue of works, which includes some 300 compositions, gives proof not only of an impressive productivity, but also contains an amazingly wide range: everything from magnificent operas and oratorios to intimate choral and chamber music. With his unlikely combination of creativity and diligence in the craft of composition, restless curiosity and firmly-rooted mastery of form, Sandström alternates, to all appearances unconcerned, between a sophisticated orchestral texture and musical melodies, film music and music for the church. In the 2000s he has focused especially on sacred choral music.

Sven-David Sandström is published by Gehrmans Musikförlag.

For a complete biography, visit Sven-David Sandström's website.

God Be Merciful

Sven-David Sandström
God Be Merciful

Double mixed chorus (SSATBB), a cappella
DURATION: 6 minutes
TEXT: Psalm 67
Choral work with sonorous chords and unique rhythmic textures.Psalms Project commission




World Premiere
October 1, 2011
Andrew Megill, conductor
Bristol Chapel
Westminster Choir College
Princeton, NJ

Westminster Kantorei  

In collaboration with the Sacred Music Department of Westminster Choir College, Soli Deo Gloria commissioned an a cappella choral work God Be Merciful by Sven-David Sandström as part of SDG's Psalms Project. No composer has made such an impression on contemporary Swedish musical life as Mr. Sandström. His impressive catalog of works includes some 300 compositions, ranging from operas and oratorios to intimate choral and chamber music. In recent years, he has been focusing especially on sacred choral music, with such works as his Messiah, commissioned by the Oregon Bach Festival and set to the same text as Handel's well-known version.


  Composer Sandström working with students at Westminster Choir College

Mr. Sandström's arrival on campus was a major event for the students at Westminster Choir College, one of the finest choral schools in the U.S. In sessions preceding the performance, students had the opportunity to meet and interact with this world-renowned composer. Mr. Sandström described his desire to create “smooth and beautiful sounds” and shared this personal statement: “Before I die, I wish to see church music flowering as it was in 1650.”

The premiere of God Be Merciful, sung by the Kantorei choir and conducted by Andrew Megill, concluded a day-long Symposium on Music for the Modern Church,  in which Mr. Sandström partcipated both as a presenter and panelist. Though a surprise early winter storm threatened to cancel the event, the concert went forward as planned, uplifting the spirits of the listeners with its sonorous chords and unique rhythmic textures. The program included one other work by Mr. Sandström, Hear My Prayer, and two other world premieres: Daniel Elder's O magnum mysterium and Blake Henson's Hodie Christus natus est. In addition, the program included a performance of Daniel Kellogg's SDG-commissioned work Preserve Me, O God (the first commission in the SDG Psalms Project).