Alec Davison writes about Quaker hymns and Friends’ relationship with music
‘The universe is the song of God’, imagined the Quaker composer Donald Swann. He and his friend Sydney Carter were, I think, two of the greatest songwriters of the twentieth century, abundant in melody and memorable in lyric. They opened up the world of carols, not limiting them just to Christmas-tide, but creating songs of joy for singing throughout all the seasons of the year, and for all spiritualities and faiths. Altogether they wrote many hundreds of songs, anthologised in a host of publications. Some are now almost folk songs – Sydney Carter’s ‘Lord of the Dance’ and Donald Swann’s ‘The Hippopotamus Song’ (‘Mud, mud, glorious mud’), written with Michael Flanders, are nearly ‘Anon’!
You need to login to read subscriber-only content and/or comment on articles.