Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peter S Pope

This morning on Radio 4's Midweek, Libby Purvis mentioned a very interesting character Peter S. Pope whose music had been discovered in some dusty old attic on the South Coast.

He was a Roman Catholic who had joined with the Exclusive Brethren in the 1940s. You can't actually join as there is no membership. He had a promising career as a musician and a composer but gave all that up for fellowship and did not compose again till he left the Taylorite Brethren in the early 1970s.

Of course, this sort of motivation is completely alien to the Libby Purves of this world who quite possibly have never had to give up anything yet alone hold anything so dear as to believe that it is worthy of giving up a career for.

Peter Pope did compose some tunes for hymns which are found in the Little Flock Hymn book. Some were published in the Little Flock Tunes supplements 1965. They are of a very high calibre.

Like Babette in Babette's Feast, Peter Pope had to make a living "in the world" but like Babette too, his artistic gifts couldn't be squashed or suppressed and even during those years among the Brethren, the quality of his powers of composition remained undiminished. They took flight again in 1970s and we can now hear the results in a new CD which is being released Heaven-Haven

Details are available from this link:

How he will enchant the Angels

Just for the record

Well a blog once a year isn't bad is it! I was at the Malpas Bishop Heber High School 50th Anniversary Service a couple of months ago. I rang beforehand - the Quarter Peal failed to compete with the Rock Band that was rehearsing in the Nave.

We sang some super Bp Heber Hymns but Canon Samuels prefaced the singing of “The Son of God goes Forth to War” with some gentle words to the effect that this hymn was outdated, and challenged the youth of Bishop Heber School to come up with something more relevant to 21st century sentiments. What about this as a first attempt:

The Son of God goes forth to War
A Kingly crown to gain
We’d like a tasteful modern flag
To follow in his train
We’ll do without his cup of woe
A drug will ease our pain
The cross is far too heavy now
To bear it in his train.

Let’s do away with sacrifice
And only strive for gain
And make a way for greed and vice
To join us in his train
We don’t need Christ to save us or
Forgiveness to obtain
We only need to get our rights
To follow in his train

The “chosen few” offends our sense
Of inclusivity
We’re much more free and easy now
And need more liberty;
The narrow path seems much too long
Our choice is much more sane:
We only need to drift along
To follow in his train.

And at Life’s end we’ll slip away
Into another room
We’ve said the Creed but don’t believe
We’ll ever face our doom;
But if the Pearly Gates appear
We’ll have to think again,
And hope our niceness will suffice
To follow in his train.

With apologies to Bishop Reginald Heber