Fred Kaan (1929-2009)

Fred Kaan

Born in Haarlem, Fred Kaan (1929–2009) came to Britain in 1952 where he studied for the Congregational ministry, being ordained in 1955. Eight years later, a dearth of hymns relevant to the life of the eclectic congregation of Plymouth’s Pilgrim Church triggered the creation of a home-made hymn supplement, Pilgrim Praise, and his vocation thereafter as one of the twentieth century’s outstanding

Six collections of his work followed, and the inclusion of his texts in countless denominational hymnbooks throughout the world bore testimony to the influence of his internationalism, his faith in the modern city, and above all, perhaps, for his care for language and for precision in the use of it in each new searching statement of faith.

Fred Kaan notably collaborated with the Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt on their Magnificat for a New Millennium. In 2002 he was awarded the highest accolade of the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, the Chancellor’s Gold Medal, for his outstanding contribution in the fields of ecumenical relations and hymnody.


Healing the Nations

Healing the Nations: Fred Kaan - The Man and his Hymns
Biography by Gillian R. Warson
Published May 2006
ISBN 0 85249 889 6
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No contemporary hymnwriter has participated as centrally as Fred Kaan in the events shaping the life of the Christian churches in the past four decades. From childhood under anti-Nazi occupation in Holland to poet of the Christian anti-war movement, from British Congregationalist pastor writing hymns to send his Sunday parish into their worldly life, to Geneva-based ecumenical officer helping Asian Christians create an English version for their indigenous new songs of faith, to lyricist for the Hannover 2000 World's Fair. We must all be grateful to author Gillian R. Warson, who has taken up this fascinating story, and given us a book that is a must-read for all of us who care about Christian life and witness in our global, inter-faith world.
R . Gerald Hobbs. Professor of Church History & Music, Vancouver School of Theology

The Only Earth We Know
Hymns and Lyrical Poems
Published 1999
ISBN 0 85249 852 7
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Published to coincide with Fred Kaan's 70th birthday, this is the definitive collection of his work; as he himself describes it, 'One man's 100 hymns, give or "take five" . . . For today and (I dare to hope) for some of our tomorrows'.

Included in the volume is the text for Magnificat for a New Millennium, a major cantata with music by Knut Nystedt, commissioned for EXPO 2000, the World Exhibition in Hanover, Germany.

Many of the hymns in The Only Earth We Know have been revised in the light of insights gained from inclusive language. The volume also contains a rich diversity of familiar and specially-written settings, by a range of composers including Peter Churchill, Maggie Hamilton, Ron Klusmeier, Doreen Potter, Pamela Ward and Carlton R. Young.

Songs & Hymns from Sweden
Kaan translations from Swedish set by Scandanavian composers. Edited by Anders Frostenson
Published 1976
Ref. B440
ISBN 0 85249 440 8
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Break Not the Circle Twenty Kaan texts set by Doreen Potter
Published 1975 [Out of Print]

The Hymn Texts of Fred Kaan
Published 1977 [Out of Print]

Pilgrim Praise Seventy hymns texts by Fred Kaan set to music
Published 1972 [Out of Print]

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