We produce a few books each year on subjects close to our hearts: from music and the arts to the place of the Christian in 21st century culture, from history and biography to worship practices. All our titles can be bought through this site or through other retailers such as Amazon.
Music Mania: How the Victorians joined the cult of Classical Music and why England has never been the same since
"Why I wrote this book" by Abigail Judith Fox
Ten years ago I graduated in Music. When I began those three years of study, I had the wind in my sails and a certificate stating 100% in my A Level music composition coursework. But after only a few weeks of study, I wondered if I knew anything at all. The soft and kind approach of school music teachers had been replaced by fervent zeal for the avant-garde. I stumbled through - trying to please and often failing. I achieved my First Class degree, but it signified little except perhaps disappointment.
It was very important for me to understand whether my dislocation from the direction of modern music was personal or cultural. I published my first few steps in Beauty & Joy: The Christian Nature of Music, but as the years passed, it seemed altogether too gentle for the task. In No Earthly Good? The Christian and Culture I widened my field of vision from music to present culture, including the arts. But I was still not satisfied. Fundamentally, I wanted to know how we reached the current state of affairs. So I focused on the historical evidence and in doing so acquired a library of resources. Over the next year, these authors answered my questions and they also undermined my own comfortable assumptions.
Music Mania surprised me. It has changed the way that I see music and its place in culture. It has freed me from the pressure to conform to modernism (in Classical or Popular music) and yet left me empowered to compose again. But it is not about me. It is written for the music-lover, as much as for the composer, performer and musicologist. After all, we are in this together. We have been in this music cult from the day we were born. It's time we learned something about it.
Music Mania Promo:
Also available from Elbium Publications
William Cowper: his life, told by Mrs. Mary Unwin with a selection of his poems
Our most popular title, this little biography presents a counterpoint to the stereotypical view of William Cowper as a figure to be pitied. We follow Cowper from his childhood to his death and rediscover an aristocrat, a country-gentleman, a squire.
Much is made of his youthful suicide attempts, but we see those in the context of his fears before conversion. And we see the transformation in the years that followed. First he moves into the Unwin home as a lodger and then, as the family diminishes, he remains with Mrs Mary Unwin. They are cared for by faithful servants, Sam and his wife Nanny, their children living in the house. Cowper adopts a poor lad. Mrs. Unwin trains a young girl called Hannah for service. Cowper's cousin Lady Hesketh visits all too often and eventually ruins the happiness of this bustling home, as she moves the ageing Cowper around the country, sends away Sam and his family and even buries Mrs. Unwin without telling Cowper of her death.
The Church has never had so gifted a poet as William Cowper. Too often seen in the shadow of John Newton, his life is here told in the voice of those who loved him. Also available on audiobook through the shop.
Hymns Most Perfect: An Essay on Psalmody
The Rev. William Romaine has never been granted the spotlight by Evangelical publishers. He lived in the age of Rev. George Whitefield and Rev. John Wesley, and as a close friend of the former, one might naturally assume that his life and works would be of equal interest. But the Rev. Romaine does not fit the mould. Today we like our Christian icons to be beacons to the rest of the world. We want to portray an image of Christianity that is inclusive and eminently flexible. The Rev. Romaine does not fit that portrait and so he has been forgotten. But that demonstrates more about us than it does about him. His letters to his friends always point to an higher purpose, elucidating a passage of Scripture and seeking to encourage them in their faith. His strict principles lend him more tenderness, not less. His only crime - in the PR terms of present day - is that he truly loved God more than he loved the world, he cared more for the truth than he did for presentation, he took his duties as a minister seriously and his congregations could never express enough gratitude for his ministry.
Hymns Most Perfect is a reprint of Romaine's "An Essay on Psalmody". The foreword explains how one man came to hear of Rev. Romaine, almost 200 years after his death, and the extraordinary anger that was displayed on that occasion against the singing of Psalms in the public worship of God. Several reviews of this edition have focused on that foreword and been critical that such an incident has been recorded. But surely that is part of the problem. Psalm-singers have been pushed onto the back foot by the mainstream Church and any attempt to promote Psalmody is too often regarded as rude and offensive. But should that really concern us? It was regarded as equally rude when the Rev. William Romaine published his book the first time. Would that more people lived like the Rev. Romaine and put God and his Word above their own preference and pleasure.