Bid to find Riddings composer’s music

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A FORMER Alfreton man is on a musical mission to revive a Riddings composer’s forgotten relics in a new book.

Stephen Beet, who now teaches English in Siberia, is compiling a book on ‘forgotten’ hymns and the people that wrote them, to be published later in the year.

The one-time St Thomas’s Church organist, 52, is now appealing for anyone with information about the late composer Caleb Martin to get in touch.

Mr Martin, of Riddings, penned the hymn ‘Pye Hill’, which was well known locally, but his other works have been lost.

Stephen said: “Pye Hill is a marvellous piece of music and it would be great if we could find more because Martin’s style would fit very well with the other music we are preparing for the book.

“As far as I know he was a fairly prolific writer of music and worked as a miner.”

Stephen used to live on Flower Lees in Alfreton up until 1989 when he took a job at a school in London. In 2005 he moved to Tomsk in Siberia, to help establish an English speaking school.

But Stephen said he has always been fascinated with hymn music written before the second world war. He was the organist’s assistant at St Thomas’s Church in Somercotes during the 1970s, where he first came across Caleb Martin’s hymn.

Stephen’s book, entitled Pye Hill - and other Lost Gems and Forgotten Favourites will feature copies of the original sheet music of around 100 British composers, along with biographical information about them.

Stephen knows very little about Caleb Martin’s life - but he is being helped by the composer’s grandson, Trevor Martin.

Trevor, now of London, said: “My father died in 1954 aged 53.

“He was also a member of Riddings band and wrote music for them, but with the exception of Pye Hill everything has been lost.

“It would be great if we could find some of his other compositions - maybe someone has something hidden away in a drawer somewhere?”

Caleb Martin’s Pye Hill was originally written for the Pye Hill Male Voice Choir.

If you think you are sitting on one of Caleb Martin’s forgotten hymns, or know anything about the composer, get in touch. Email news@rhnews.co.uk or Stephen on StephenRBeet@Gmail.com.