Sir Robert Price and the Titanic

Today, 23 June 2014, the Encyclopedia Titanica website has chosen to display in full an account  of the nonchalant relaxing time spent in the doomed vessel by Industry titans  and Society celebs on the eve of that ill-fated day – 14 April 1912!
[At bottom, you’ll find the link to “Titanic – On the Eve of Disaster”]

Titanic Sketch 001

Sketch by Titanic Steward Leo James Hyland about 1.40 am on 15 April 1912 ____________________________________________________________________________

At the outset let me say to my readers that there’s no direct connection between my family and the terrible 15 April 1912 disaster, the memory of which lives on in the minds of many people around the world even today. But on that fateful day, Sir Robert Price was the Member of Parliament for East Norfolk in England. That worthy gentleman had a remarkable dream about the tragic event in which a version of Nearer, My God to Thee! came to him as he imagined himself to be going down with the great ship. “I had attended a memorial service,” said Sir Robert to a Press reporter, “and went home much affected by the service. I went to sleep and dreamt that I was a passenger on the Titanic as she went down. It was terribly vivid. As I felt myself going down I prayed….

“I awoke with a start,” continued Sir Robert, “and when I had collected my thoughts I put down the words of my dream – not all of them, for there were several verses that I could not remember. I am not a hymn-writer nor a maker of verses, and so this remarkable version (of the hymn) appears to be all the more miraculous.”

Sir Robert’s words (three verses actually shown below) had such an impression on my grandmother, Rose Ziadine Akmal – a composer who was born in London, trained in England and Europe, and settled at the time with her family in Durban, South Africa – that she immediately set them to music and wrote to Sir Robert, asking for permission to use his verses. That being granted, the stirring composition, bearing the same title as the hymn, was published in 1912 by International Music Publishing Co. in South Africa. Nearer my God 001

The opening page of Rose’s deeply felt hymn (for voice and piano) I’ve included below:Nearer 1st Page 001

Afterword: Horner- It’s with profound sorrow that musicians around the world heard of the death yesterday of James Horner, the prolific composer of film music, which includes the score for Titanic’s famous song sung by Celine DionMy Heart Will Go On. The plane he was piloting crashed. Since he was a well- known pilot, it will have to be determined eventually what caused him to lose control of his own aircraft. For the record, James was raised in London and started piano lessons when he was 5 and trained as a musician at the Royal College of Music, which incidentally was my wife, Lolita’s alma mater.

 Titanic – On the Eve of Disaster

Copyright © 2015 Azim Lewis Mayadas

2 thoughts on “Sir Robert Price and the Titanic

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