Experiencing music

Marian Liebmann reviews a book on music and spirituality

It may seem curious to be reviewing a book on music and spirituality for a Quaker publication, when Quakers have a history of rejecting music (and the other arts) as an avenue to spiritual experience. Ormerod Greenwood’s Swarthmore Lecture of 1978, Signs of Life: Art and Religious Experience, brought the arts in from the cold, and there is now a much more positive attitude towards the arts. Many Quakers are involved in music of one kind or another – but mostly outside their Quaker worship. Exceptions are the choral works by Tony Biggin and Alec Davison, such as ‘Cry of the Earth’ – a choral drama presented at London’s on Royal Festival Hall on Easter Monday 1990. But Quaker worship in Britain rarely includes music or singing.

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