Anthem 26 – Nox

Welcome to Anthem 26 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.

Well, I have made to halfway in my epic project. I have produced 26 anthems in 6 months. I’m not delighted with all of them but I am delighted that I have tackled my decades-long compositional inactivity. Hopefully, there is plenty more to come in months 7-12 of 2024.

This week I am celebrating my 30th Wedding Anniversary by going on the trip of a lifetime with my beautiful wife, Sarah. As I have previously mentioned, next week’s anthem will be the one I wrote in January but this week’s is a brand new one.

While hunting for text to use, I came across an article about Compline – often the final church service of the day. Singing Compline is one of my favourite choral activities partly due to its use of plainsong and partly due to its words which seem to be perfect for a late evening service.

The English version of the opening sentence is ‘the Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end’. I’ve always loved that phrase. When I saw the Latin original of the opening prayer, I thought it would make a great unaccompanied anthem.

Here are the words:


Words for Anthem 26:

Noctem quietam et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens. Amen.

Originally, I was going to call the anthem ‘Noctem’ but the proper Latin noun for night is ‘nox’ so I went for that instead. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to complete this anthem but, as is so often the case, necessity was the mother of invention and I managed to produce a short piece that would probably be appropriate for an introit, particularly in the evening due to its words.

I’ve been trying to write a quiet, unaccompanied anthem since I began this project, without a lot of success but this time I think it’s come out better than most. I deliberately ignored any consideration of what might be considered ‘correct’ harmony and just went with what sounded good to me. I also happened upon an interesting couple of key changes which add a little bit of ‘spice’ to what could have been a little bit static and uninspiring. There is also plenty of time signature variation as seemed to work best.

I have often been reluctant to include long, held notes and I think this has led to some unsatisfactory effects in previous anthems so this time I tried to avoid that. There are plenty of slowly-changing chords as a result. I managed to surprise myself with some of the interesting harmonic effects and this anthem is closer to what I imagined I would be writing when I began the project.

Anyway, see what you think:

https://youtu.be/Td9bSuuy_Vk

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


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *