Hymn

a memoir of music in childhood
words by Alan Bennett
music by George Fenton

Hymn

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.


World Premiere

Related content: 
  • War Horse final performance 12 March 2016
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Husbands and Sons. Photo of Anne-Marie Duff
  • As You Like It. Photo of Rosalie Craig
  • Evening at the Talk House. A decomposing dessert on a cake stand
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Photo of Sharon D Clarke by Seamus Ryan
  • Iphigenia in Splott
  • Waste. Image: Charcoal on paper a man's head, smudged, by Valentin van der Meulen. ‘Untitled 07’. 2013.
  • Moving Stories
  • Cleansed. Photo: Untitled by Birgit Kahle
  • The Solid Life of Sugar Water
  • People, Places and Things
  • The James Plays - The three Kings
  • Les Blancs / The Whites
  • Brainstorm. Teenage boy with blue exploding head
  • The Suicide. Photography by Jay Brooks
  • Another World: Losing our children to Islamic State
  • The Flick poster - photo of a cinema floor