A Most Agreeable Man: Lyman Foster Brackett: Performer, Composer and Hymnal Editor for The Church of Christ, Scientist
Hodgson, Peter J. A Most Agreeable Man: Lyman Foster Brackett: Performer, Composer and Hymnal Editor for The Church of Christ, Scientist. Chestnut Hill, MA: Longyear Museum Press, 2003.
Hodgson’s half-biography, half-musical documentation of the life and work of Lyman Brackett highlights his important role in the development of hymnody for the Christian Science Church. It became evident to Mary Baker Eddy that Brackett (30 years her junior) was not only a highly skilled musician but “keenly interested in the welfare and success of ‘Christian Science’” (13), and she requested he compose the first setting to her poem ‘Feed My Sheep.’ So successful was this rendition, he ultimately became the overall designer, music editor, and original composer of 99 hymns in the first Christian Science hymnal. In 1905, Eddy replaced two of his tunes for newer settings, but requested their return in 1909 after she learned their importance to the Christian Science community. Hodgson’s valuable historical record of the composer’s character, devotion to Christian Science, and abilities as composer and editor demonstrates the particular care with which Eddy considered the music for her Church. In 1930, the Christian Science Board of Directors again requested his assistance concerning major revisions to the hymnal. The second half of Hodgson’s book includes reprints of hymn tunes from the 1892 edition of the Christian Science Hymnal as well as a CD that includes representative examples of Brackett’s full oeuvre.