Alan Bennett writes: ‘In 2001 the Medici Quartet commissioned the composer George Fenton to write a piece commemorating their thirtieth anniversary. George Fenton appeared in my play Forty Years On and has written music for many of my plays since, and he asked me to collaborate on the commission. Hymn was the result. First performed at the Harrogate Festival in August 2001, it’s a series of memoirs with music. Besides purely instrumental passages for the quartet, many of the speeches are under-scored, incorporating some of the hymns and music I remember from my childhood and youth.’
It’s a dwindling band; old-fashioned and of a certain age, you can pick us out at funerals and memorial services because we can sing the hymns without the book.
Alex Jennings plays Alan Bennett. Music performed by members of Southbank Sinfonia
Hymn and Cocktail Sticks transfered to the West End as a double bill, entitled Untold Stories, from 22 March 2013.
The final performance of Hymn at the National Theatre was on Sunday 17 March as part of a Sunday double bill.