2015 September 13: Morning Has Broken

September 29, 2019 10:30

Affettuoso & Allegro     G. Telemann (1681-1767) [Harpsichord & Flute]
Susan Addington, Flute       

"Morning has Broken"

Improvisation

"Morning has Broken" is the best known work of Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), children’s author and poet.

Eleanor was born in London, the daughter of a popular novelist at the time, Benjamin Farjeon. Known as ‘Nellie’ to her immediate family, she was a sickly child who suffered from poor eyesight and was educated at home. Her father encouraged her to write from the age of five. She eventually earned a living as a journalist, broadcaster, writing poetry and stories and counted among her friends the celebrated D H Lawrence and Walter de la Mare.

"Morning has Broken" was originally published in the second edition of a songbook for children, Songs of Praise [1931]. Songs of Praise was widely used in schools and its editor, Percy Dearmer, later wrote how the compilers wanted a hymn to give thanks for each day, so Eleanor Farjeon was "asked to make a poem to fit the lovely Scottish tune". It was later published in her anthology called Children’s Bells [1957] under its current title "A Morning Song - for the First Day of Spring".

Her poem achieved international fame when it was included in Cat Stevens’ 1971 album Teaser & the Firecat. Stevens had asked his friend Rick Wakeman to write a piano accompaniment for the track. In 1977, Stevens converted to Islam and the following year he adopted the name Yusuf Islam. In 1979 he auctioned all his guitars for charity and left his music career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes in the Muslim community.

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