Anthem 24 – Hail Son of God

Welcome to Anthem 24 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.

I managed to make a little progress with the new Plugin this week, which is pleasing. Without going into a lot of technical explanation (which would be pretty boring) I ended up being able to set the first phrase of this week’s anthem in the wordbuilder function. So you can hear a very rough approximation of the opening words sung by the software – Hail Son of God Savior of Men. The first part, Hail Son of God, is repeated in different ways across the different parts. I know I could have made the words sound better but at least they are almost all recognisable, if you also look at the words as they are sung.

It took a long time to set up the words in this first phrase. Each syllable needs to be typed individually – and repeated where the notes change on the same word. Once you have worked out a short phrase, this can be saved and reused on other voices but then has to be tweaked when the rhythm and the word lengths are different. I can see how the long-winded process produces good results but the time investment is huge. This is fine if you are creating a piece of choral music for a film or something but for my weekly workflow, I am going to have to practise and improve my speed. We shall see how I get on with that.

So I resorted to setting the rest of the anthem to a simple ‘ah’ sound. It’s not too bad a sound overall.

I’m fairly pleased with the short anthem itself. The lyrics come from a different source to recent weeks. It’s a prayer from Paradise Lost (at least I think so), a work by John Milton, the 17th Century English author.

Here are the words:


Words for Anthem 23:

Hail Son of God, Savior of Men, thy Name

Shall be the copious matter of my Song

Henceforth, and never shall my Harp thy praise

Forget, nor from thy Father’s praise disjoin.

I am guilty of just taking this prayer out of the context of the literary work without checking how it’s used there but I don’t think that’s an issue on this occasion.

For the first section, I tried to introduce some interesting harmonies and I think it worked fairly well. It’s a strong, loud opening in D major. Next comes a faster, more nimble section in E major where I try to evoke the lyrics about song. It uses a lot of imitation between parts and flows well, with a few extended bars to make the phrasing work more effectively. I also tried to do a bit of word painting for the ‘harp’ section – maybe not as successfully as the previous attempt. The anthem ends in triumphant fashion with the words ‘thy Father’s praise disjoin.’

I feel this anthem is a fair attempt at setting these different words. There’s not a great deal of memorable writing, however, but I suppose it works.

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 28 to go – but until then the question remains – will I make it to Anthem 52?


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