The Vicar of Dibley theme et al
Howard Goodall: choral works
Its cover features a painting by Mark Ranshaw, in slightly cubist style, of choir singers in white surplices over red cassocks, standing amidst blue cathedral columns and arches. HOWARD GOODALL, CHORAL WORKS, THE CHOIR OF CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL OXFORD, STEPHEN DARLINGTON (conductor).
I was somewhat surprised by the corner inset: "Includes themes from Mr Bean & the Vicar of Dibley" - OK, that might increase the recording's popular appeal, but wasn't that making light of serious music which had been taken over and used by television? How wrong I was! Howard Goodall composed the beautiful setting of the 23rd Psalm especially for the TV series, and likewise the Mr Bean theme.
The booklet states that Howard Goodall, a former chorister at New College and music scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, has written musicals, and themes for Blackadder, the Red Dwarf, and The Borrowers, in addition to the Vicar of Dibley and Mr Bean. He also writes liturgical music in the English choral tradition, as well as serious secular music.
In Memoriam Anne Frank, written for the 50th anniversary of Anne Frank's death, includes settings to three different texts: "Remember me when I am gone away" by Christina Rosetti, "North west passage" by Robert Louis Stevenson, and words from Richard Lovelace.
Likewise the work They Were Not Here commemorates VE Day with settings to two poems - by David Geraint Jones and Shakespeare. Goodall states that "the sentiments were complicated, mixed ones for people living in another society and time, and [in both works he] chose more than one text in an attempt to juxtapose the different elements and emotions".
Between the above works are the 23rd Psalm of the Vicar of Dibley, and the Ecce homo of Mr Bean.
Goodall writes: "My intention with the Dibley theme had always
been to treat the series as if it were not a comedy, and write a piece
of popular church music that might have a further life". It is
also a longer composition than is heard in the series.
(No, we don't know if sheet music is available.)
The above comment brought us enlightenment from Susan Lewis of
England, to whom we are most grateful.
Psalm 23 by Howard Goodall, published by Novello
Copyright 1995 Noel Gay Music Co Ltd,
Exclusive distributors: Music Sales
for an internet purchase address.
In Mr Bean you never caught the words? "Ecce homo qui est faba. Vale homo qui est faba." (Behold the man who is a bean. Farewell O man who is a bean)!
And the music? Beautiful voices of the choir and soloists of Christ Church Cathedral, the organ playing of David Goode, with the accompaniment of a string quintet, and the addition, in two works, of the Sherbourne School for Girls Chamber Singers. The clear tones and lovely music you hear from the best of English choirs.
A highly pleasurable and also a thought-provoking production.
Oh, and the accompanying booklet contains the texts with English translations, and programme notes by Richard Coles and Howard Goodall.
Howard Goodall responds 23rd May, 2002
Dear Dunedin Methodists
What a superb site!
Thank you for including my 'Vicar of Dibley' Psalm 23 in Joan Robertson's kind and informative article on my Choral Works CD. If any of your visitors/members are interested, I have a fairly comprehensive website with details of my music & broadcasts. In particular, readers might be stimulated/provoked/challenged/tickled by my article 'Music & Christian Worship in the 21st Century', originally delivered as a lecture at Regent's Park Theological College, Oxford University, which can be found in the 'biography' section of the site.
Best wishes and greetings to all
Howard Goodall website: <http://www.howardgoodall.co.uk>