Listen: Have Mercy on Me, O God


Excerpt from Have Mercy on Me, O God

From the archival recording of the world premiere, performed by the Dilijan Chamber Music Society with tenor Daniel Plaster.

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



Vache Sharafyan, born in Yerevan, Armenia, is the author of numerous symphonic, chamber, vocal and choral compositions that are performed widely by many leading musicians, and is an official composer for The Silk Road Project founded by cellist Yo Yo Ma. His Silk Road compositions include The Morning Scent of the Acacia’s Song for duduk (Armenian folk oboe) and string quartet (as well as version for duduk, soprano and string orchestra) and The Sun, the Wine and the Wind of Time for duduk, violin, cello and piano. These have been performed by Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble in Cologne Philharmonic hall, Brussels Philharmonic hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, in USA: Carnegie (Stern) Hall, Carnegie (Zankel) Hall, Berkeley, Stanford Universities, Seattle Benaroya Hall, Washington National Mall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall, and in Rome, Florence, Milan.

“Sharafyan creates complex, deliberate, ultimately captivating grandeur.” —Boston Globe, on Sinfonia No. 2 un poco concertante

“[T]he most wonderful piece on the program…The seamless evolution of moods and textures—from soft, somber lines made up of pained intervals, to more violent outbursts, back to mournful lines—made it entirely absorbing to the ear and mind...”—Chicago Tribune, on The Sun, the Wine, and the Wind of Time

“The evening’s gem…was the Sharafyan.” —Pittsburgh Post Gazette, on The Four Seasons

For a complete biography, visit Vache Sharafyan's website.

Have Mercy on Me, O God

Vache Sharafyan
Have Mercy on Me, O God

Tenor soloist & string quartet
DURATION: 9 minutes
TEXT: Psalm 51
A striking addition to the repertoire for string quartet and voice;
contemplative, prayerful and pleading.





World Premiere
September 2011
Zipper Concert Hall
Colburn School of the Performing Arts
Dilijan Chamber Music Society
Movses Pogassian, Varty Manouelian, violins
Gina Coletti, viola
Vardan Gasparyan, cello
Daniel Plaster, tenor
Los Angeles, CA

Dilijan Chamber Music Society, with Daniel Plaster, tenor, performing the world premiere of Have Mercy on Me, O God  

The Dilijan Chamber Music Series, directed by Movses Pogossian, is dedicated to showcasing traditional pieces of Western classical chamber music, as well as Armenian chamber works. For the opening concert of their 2012 season, they premiered the work of Armenian composer Vache Sharafyan, Have Mercy Upon Me, O God, commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria. When asked about the process of composing his work for string quartet and tenor, Sharafyan responded:





  "Mesrop Mashtots" by Francesco Majotto

"Inevitably, my musical thought is influenced by the expressiveness of the Armenian medieval sacred hymns. The adoption of Christianity as the Armenian governmental religion in 301, and the establishment of the Armenian alphabet by St. Mesrop Mashtots in the fifth century, initiated the development a new body of sacred hymns called sharakans. They were based on Armenian language intonations and expressiveness and accents, and within this musical language, the authors followed the meaning of the sacred texts, striving to make the hymns as expressive as possible.

"Another important influence on me is the sound, the voice of Jerusalem, where I lived and worked for four years at the Armenian Theological Seminary. There, I was enriched by many musical languages and intonations from so many and such deep spiritual traditions.

"I think there is a parallel here between music and prayer. When we say the same prayer with the same words, when we pray the same Psalm, each of us is also sending to the Eternal our individual prayer and message."

"[Have Mercy on Me, O God] should prove Vache Sharafyan's masterwork...
The painful, querying, pleading and searching quality with which he began ...
led to pianissimo major chords in the strings,
as if the prayer had become a breath being taken or a heartbeat
in anticipation of further prayer ...
Because the literature for string quartet and voice is growing,
it's clear to me that Sharafyan's work should hold
a place of honor in that contemporary repertoire."— Grant Barnes, Esq.

The midwest premiere of Have Mercy on Me, O God  was performed in January 2012, at College Church (Wheaton, IL) with the Avalon String Quartet and tenor soloist Scott Ramsay.