Finding enough material to create a programme on people living today who write and compose traditional hymns drawing solely from the Songs of Praise’s existing archive was a challenge, says producer Rowan Morton-Gledhill.
The series usually broadcasts either traditional hymns from past centuries or works which were destined to be accompanied by a group in worship style. But Morton-Gledhill’s efforts to introduce modern hymn writers and their works over the last decade have paid off and the programme is “packed with music,” she says.
“My colleagues and I had interviewed some of these hymn writers, so we were able to re-use brief comments from interviews going back as far as 2003,” says Morton-Gledhill. “I felt very moved to hear the integrity, faith, creativity and humanity which prompts both professional and part-time hymn writers to add to our rich heritage across Anglican, Nonconformist/Methodist and Catholic Church traditions.
“It was the relevance of traditional worship to the the 21st century, and a desire to reflect and emphasise the ecumenical nature of sacred music in both Songs of Praise and the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) that prompted me to film the links at Sarum College and to interview RSCM Director Lindsay Gray. Both institutions comfortably blend the best of both ancient and modern.
My only regret is that this was a one-off programme and not an entire series, as inevitably some great British hymn writers, such as Christopher Idle, had to be left out due to lack of suitable congregational music archive.”
The selection of modern classics featured on the programme includes the following:
* Christ Triumphant (Michael Saward) to Guiting Power (John Barnard)
* Living In The Light (Brigid Pailthorpe) to Godmanchester (Peter Moger)
* We Cannot Measure How You Heal
* O God, You Search Me (Bernadette Farrell)
* The Lord Bless You (John Rutter)
The programme airs on BBC One at 5pm on Sunday 29th January 2012.