“What makes a good hymn? Two thousand years of argument, and still going” – a talk by Keith Clements, 25th March 2021 at 7:30pm for 7:45pm

Portishead Choral Society’s second series of Zoom talks continues with a Zoom talk on Thursday 25th March 2021 at 7:30pm for 7:45pm.

Hymns are important to lots of people – and, surprisingly, not just to those who go to church. As a way of blending words and music they are a special art-form which over the centuries has permeated our culture in ways well beyond church. As a minister I’ve spent a lot of my life in the business of choosing hymns for services and other occasions, in editing a hymn-book and even writing a few hymns myself. But I’m still intrigued by the question of what makes “a good hymn”, whether it’s primarily the words, or the tune, or the blend of both, or who wrote (or composed it) and in what circumstances – not to mention the associations it has acquired for us in our people’s history and our personal life-experience. With the aid of some stories and audio-clips I hope to explore the question. Don’t expect a final answer – just some more questions!

Keith Clements

Keith is one of our Basses. He has had a particularly interesting life and recently published an autobiography – “Looking back with hope” (Resource Publications) which is highly recommended.