Anthem 18 – Great is our Lord

Welcome to Anthem 18 in my attempt to write a new choir anthem every week for a year. I’m Kevin Mulryne and I hope you will enjoy listening to my progress throughout 2024. Please do visit the website Anthem52.com, follow along on x.com – @realanthem52 or Instagram – @realanthem52 and send me a message to show@anthem52.com.

This anthem is based on another Psalm set for the week – this time Psalm cxlvii (147). I used some verses in full and others I missed parts out in order to create a useable set of words. As has happened more than once, I started off with the intention of making this anthem harmonically adventurous but then it turned itself into something more predictable. I do like it, though. Here are the words:


Words for Anthem 18:

Great is our Lord and great is his power : yea and his wisdom is infinite.

The Lord setteth up the meek : and bringeth the ungodly down to the ground.

O sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving :

I also realised that the first 4 notes are identical to last week’s opening notes in the soprano (treble) part. That’s a bit weird but the anthems sound almost entirely dissimilar so I’m not that concerned about it!

I also ignored my own advice from last week on the length of anthems. This one is perhaps the shortest of all so far. It might be a good introit, perhaps. In its short span, there are a lot of notes, however. I got a little bit carried away with the quavers (quarter notes) in the 3/4 section, despite the relatively fast tempo and I think it creates an upbeat, positive character. In this case, I think that’s a good thing. The words are clearly meant to be celebratory so the anthem buzzing away with fleet-footed runs seems appropriate.

I deliberately played with some sequences of 6ths to see how they work and, despite what I said earlier, some of the harmonies are a little unexpected, providing a frisson of interest, hopefully. I am finding A major a fun key to write in and this anthem doesn’t really stray from that – partly due to its short span.

The construction is also simple – basically it’s A B A B C – see if you can hear that as it wizzes past. Unfortunately, I have managed to make the Logic version very heavy and muffled in the bass so I’ll have to try and fix that for next week’s anthem.

Anyway, see what you think:

Well, what do you think? Let me know on X.com @realanthem52, Instagram @realanthem52, as a comment below or via email show@anthem52.com

I hope you will join me next week for a new episode (perhaps featuring my second interview – will I ever record another?) – and a new anthem – only 35 to go – but until then the question remains – will I make it to Anthem 52?


2 responses to “Anthem 18 – Great is our Lord”

  1. Hi Kevin –

    I’ve enjoyed a renewed sampling of your anthems – thank you for continuing the excellent work. I liked #17 in particular with its extensive counterpoint. I also appreciated the interview with
    Cheryl Frances-Hoad – and I do hope you have more interview opportunities arise with other composers.

    All the best,

    Greg

    • Thank you, Greg. It’s great to know that you have enjoyed the anthems so far. Cheryl was a great guest and you are right, I need to sort out more interviews! Watch this space!

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