36A - Alan Bennett’s Hymn

36A - Alan Bennett’s Hymn

23 July 2018 3:00 pm

Birdsall House, Birdsall, YO17 9NR

36A - Alan Bennett’s Hymn

Alan Bennett’s Hymn

Heath Quartet
Carducci Quartet
Alex Jennings (actor)

Alan Bennett and George Fenton - Hymn
Mendelssohn - Octet

Alan Bennett’s touching and melancholy play Hymn is a series of memoirs with music recalling his childhood. His father, a Leeds butcher, tried to teach him the violin with little success and his mother battled depression, ‘an illness to which she was not socially entitled’. These memories are underscored by George Fenton’s haunting live soundtrack, evoking the music of Delius, Elgar, a Palm Court Orchestra, popular songs and hymns. It is followed by what is perhaps the most remarkable piece of music ever composed by a teenager: the exuberant Octet Mendelssohn penned at the age of sixteen, often described as one of the miracles of music.

‘A ripple of pleasure runs round the auditorium as Alex Jennings takes the stage … Jennings looks a lot like this most beloved of living British writers. Better yet, he sounds just like him, too, with a soft Yorkshire accent and that wry, quizzical delivery in which humour is so often undercut with melancholy