Mormonism and Music: A History

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Mormonism and Music: A History
Author Michael Hicks
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989

Mormonism and Music: A History

Reviewer James Welch

Michael Hicks's Mormonism and Music: A History is a veritable feast of information on a subject about which many people are passionate. Plenty of meaty courses are served up; even the appetizer/preface is a full course in itself. Some tasty trivia clears the palate between courses, and the epilogue is a wonderfully tart dessert. This engaging book leaves one with a satisfied but not-too-full feeling.

Of course, I know that tastes in food are about as disparate as tastes in music, and some may take issue with certain points presented by the authors. The book goes beyond a simple recitation of historical facts, but it is precisely the author's bias and editorializing that make it such good reading. Hicks is unrestrained in his comments about many personalities, be they authors, composers, musicians, general authorities, or prophets. I hope all the quotations (some potentially but delightfully controversial) are given in context. They reconfirm the fact that music, because it is such a passionate and personal thing, always engenders strong feelings.