Sven-David Sandström (1942–) has acknowledged that it was thanks to Ingmar Månsson he began composing for choir. A member of Månsson’s Hägersten Motet Choir outside Stockholm for some twenty years, Sandström was given ample opportunities to have his works performed and was able to study the choral instrument and repertoire from the inside.Starting out in a complex modernist tradition; Sandström’s major works from the 1970s were orchestral compositions, including his breakthrough piece, Through and through(1972), which received great acclaim when performed in Amsterdam in 1974. The work that made him the most recognized Swedish composer was Requiem, Mute the Bereaved Memories Speak(1979), a work of almost two hours in length for soloists, two choirs, large orchestra, and tape, setting the poems of Tobias Berggren. The Requiem deals with humankind’s ability to forget its crimes, especially the murder of children during the Holocaust. Requiem is multifaceted; it contains black romanticism, violent outbursts, sublime sections, grotesque scenes, and banalities that give the work an enormous expressivity.When composing for choir Sandström does not hold back in terms of expression or technical demands. As choral director James Kallembach put it: “Choral singers will showcase a range of expressions when perusing a typical Sandström score for the first time. From uncomfortable giggling to disbelief to downright indignation, most singers cannot help but react to some of the higher-pitched passages.” Indeed, many works are incredibly technically difficult even for professional choirs. But there is more to Sandström’s mode of writing for choir. Kallembach identified eight characteristics of Sandström’s choral writing that make his musical language highly emblematic:Download booklet
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