Letter: In praise of hymns

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Sir: I suspect the unwillingness of Dorothy Hampson's young funeral congregation (Letters, 24 January) to sing the 'well-known' hymns she played may be because they are becoming less well known, as they are gradually superseded by 'modern' efforts.

The value of teaching traditional hymns to children is that, while they may or may not inspire a belief in God, they can still inspire a love of music. Hymns such as 'Abide with me' or 'In the bleak midwinter' are unquestionably to me, a non-believer, very beautiful and moving compositions. Their authors obviously had great poetic and musical ability with which to express their faith, and this demands respect, if nothing else.

It was a delight to hear and sing such hymns as a child, and I would be equally delighted to see my own children being introduced to the same source of musical wealth - they could make up their own minds with regard to the beliefs which inspired it.

Nowadays, and all in the name of progress no doubt, our children are being taught these dismal modern creations, which can barely masquerade as hymns and are as poor an introduction to the power of music as can be imagined.

I imagine that Mrs Hampson and I may have rather different religious viewpoints but that musically we would agree - our kids are being robbed.

Yours faithfully,


Tintinhull, Somerset

24 January