Psalm 90

Lord you’re our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born and the earth was formed,
You are God from everlasting to everlasting.

A thousand years in your sight, like a day gone by.
Grant us your steadfast unfailing love in the morning,
Let us sing for joy and be glad all our days.

May your deeds be shown to your servants,
Your splendour to their children.
May the favour of the Lord rest upon us;
Establish the work of our hands, O God.
Yes, establish the work of our hands!

Commissioned and premiered by the Methodist Girls School (Secondary) Strings and Choir, the first performance was held on 9 April 2016 (Sat) at the Kwa Geok Choo Auditorium Singapore, under the baton of conductor Mr. Edward Tan.


Premiere of Psalm 90 by Methodist Girls School (Secondary) Strings and Choir conducted by Edward Tan.

The choice of Psalm 90:16-17 was made at the suggestion of school principal Ms. Grace Ng and further worked on by Head of Aesthetics, Ms. Tsien Jiuan Jiuan with input from the rest of the school management and church worker Ms. Jenny Koh. From this first draft, the composer has selected the texts that speaks most to him.

Musically, the work makes equal musical partners between the strings and choir, and gives high achieving soloists a chance to play ad libitum in the quasi-improvisational passages in section E. In the absence of cello/violin soloists, appropriate viola or double bass players may take over. Alternatively, the conductor may choose to have a smaller section play the solo lines and/or modify as necessary. Section E is inspired by people speaking in tongues and it would be great if the audience could also speak the text following the solo orator.

The highly cheerful and accessible work has assimilated various elements of popular music, the mood reflective of the school culture, specially crafted for the benefit of church-going audiences and teenagers in the high school string ensemble and choir. The work seeks to balance high artistry and musical challenge whilst maintaining playability. Spatial distribution is factored into this composition and it is highly recommended that the violin and cello solos are placed apart and the choir to stand in their corresponding voice sections, surrounding the audience (if hall acoustics allow).

Special thanks to the (then) MGS music teacher who was also one of the strings teacher in-charge and a solid musician and pianist to boot, Ms. Malisa Bay – I would not have taken up this commission if not for her!

It is hoped that this work will find favour with God and (Wo)Men alike.

Albert Tay