or A Song Only Its Composer Could Love
Right, well, let’s begin at the beginning. In the early months of this year, I slogged through an exhaustive and exhausting book titled The Bloodless Revolution: Radical Vegetarians and the Discovery of India. In it, I learned about a peculiar chap from the early 19th century, a preacher named William Cowherd (not making that up) who created a vegetarian sect called the Bible Christian Church.
The Rev. Cowherd was also a writer of hymns, and with a little googling, I found his major contribution to the genre, Select Hymns for the Use of Bible-Christians. The last three hymns in the book are on the theme of “Humanity and Religion Pleading Against Flesh-Eating.” I decided to set them to music (which, you can download for free!)
One of those hymns, the strikingly-titled â€œEaters of Flesh!â€ caught my particular fancy, and I wrote the above song, a sort of emo ballad with an extended Sibelius-inspired breakout and a faux-Renaissance coda. As you do.
You might think this piece was purpose-built to alienate everyone but its author: too churchy for the secular crowd, too weird for the church music crowd. The text features many 19th century contortions of grammar and syntax (â€œHad God for man its flesh designed â€¦ lifeless, to us, had been consignedâ€) and on top of it all, it’s straightforwardly accusatory in its vegan pleading, which will probably turn off everyone who wasn’t turned off already.
But you know what? I wrote it for me, and I like it just fine. Quite a lot, as a matter of fact!