Anthem 9 – Concede nobis, omnipotens Deus

Welcome to Anthem 9 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, follow along on – @realanthem52 or Instagram – @realanthem52 and send me a message to

Illumination from the Gelasian Sacramentary – Public Domain,

It’s exciting to have almost made it to double figures! Perhaps unwisely, I was determined this week to stick to my guns and finish something I started. I almost abandoned this anthem and started again but ended up pushing through, just to see what would happen. I chose an ancient Lenten prayer this time. Here are the Latin words and the English translation:

Words for Anthem 9:

Concede nobis, omnipotens Deus, ut per annua quadragesimalis exercitia sacramenti et ad intelligendum Christi proficiamus arcanum, et affectus eius digna conversatione sectemur. Per.


Grant to us, Almighty God, that through the annual exercises of the Lenten sacrament we may both make progress to understanding the mystery of Christ and follow after his compassion with a worthy conversion. Through our Lord Jesus who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Translation –

This prayer has been attributed to the fifth-century Pope Gelasius I in what was known as the Gelasian Sacramentary, created in the following couple of centuries after he died. It’s a short prayer but I thought I could evoke some of its sentiment. The shape of the resulting anthem began to form as I wrote it. Beginning with a slow introduction, I played around with the tonality and some interesting chords to create the idea of petitioning God using the opening words Grant to us, Almighty God – Concede nobis, omnipotens Deus. I then increased the speed and movement to continue the prayer and played around with the idea of a gradually descending pattern, combined with gradually becoming quieter. It produced some interesting chords and feeling, I think.

Part of the idea was to create a kind of chant with repeated phrases sung by the choir in block chords. An experiment of course but I am quite pleased with how it sounds. As the original Latin prayer does not include the final sentence and ‘Amen’ added in the English translation, I had to search for an appropriate Latin ending and found the simple and shorter form of ‘Per Christum Dominum nostrum, Amen’. I decided to make this ending more positive-sounding than the petitions of earlier in the anthem so the choir and organ end up with a loud closing passage.

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

I hope you will join me next week for a new episode – and a new anthem – only 43 to go – but until then the question remains – will I make it to Anthem 52?

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