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Psalm 13: How long?

This is an art song setting of Psalm 13. The title of the song is indeed “Psalm 13,” but the words “How long?” recur multiple times and sound like something of a refrain. This was written for the first Deus Ex Musica concert project, “In the Shadow of Your Wings.”

Psalm 13


How does this psalm piece interpret the psalm? 
This setting of Psalm 13 was commissioned by Deus Ex Musica, an organization committed to the development of sacred music. The psalm, a lament, opens by repeating the words “How long?” four times. This howling cry drew me deeper into the text and its raw emotion, and my setting aims to similarly convey the desperation of the speaker as they cry out to God, fearing they have been abandoned in their trials. Ultimately, though, the speaker regains faith and rejoices, trusting that God is with them even in their darkest hour. The song is a journey, traveling from the immediacy of anguish, pain, loneliness, and desolation through the recovery of strength and resolve and ultimately to the peace of trusting in Gods lovingkindness. The text is adapted by the composer from the World English Bible translation, with additions from alternate translations at the discretion of the composer. The performance features Mary Montgomery Koppel, composer and soprano, accompanied by Abigail Frost on piano.  

Liturgical Suggestions:

While this song premiered in concert as part of an ecumenical concert and discussion, it has also been an integral part of worship at my home church, First Church in Wenham (Mass.). As our worship team built virtual worship services compiled from various video contributions from our ministers, deacons, and musicians, we contributed this for use as an anthem and a musical reflection on Scripture. 

Score in PDF available:

Copyright Information:

Text and Music: Psalm 13Mary Montgomery Koppel, © Mary Montgomery Koppel  
Contact: Mary Montgomery Koppel,