The World's most beautiful music: Howard Goodall's 23rd Psalm

>> Monday, June 16, 2008

One of the many great things that Steph has done for me is to introduce me to BBC sitcoms. Sunday evenings on Public Television, Steph and I always sit down to watch our favorite British sitcoms, including "Are You Being Served?", "As Time Goes By", and "The Vicar of Dibley".

One of the things we love most about the "Vicar of Dibley", (besides Dawn French), is the gorgeous opening theme, composed by British composer, Howard Goodall, to be used especially for the program. It's a divine piece and worthy to stand alone, apart from the zany, quirky, British sitcom for which it was created. A sublime piece, it stands in complete contrast to the show and it's crazy, eccentric characters, including, and most especially, the Vicar herself.


Kathy Handyside June 18, 2008 at 12:05 AM  

I LOVED the Vicar of Dibley! Dawn French is a genius. (Did you know she's married to Lenny Henry, who played "Chef", in the British sitcom of the same name?) I always loved the opening theme of Vicar of Dibley. It reminds a lot of John Ritter's vocal pieces. And you're right: this can stand on its own exceptionally well. Wonderful music!

Anonymous June 18, 2008 at 7:31 AM  

Dear Lynette
You are very kind to post this, I am most flattered and touched. I'm glad you enjoy my Psalm 23. You may be interested to know that in September EMI Classics are releasing a CD with this on it, my new Requiem, 'Eternal Light', and two other pieces, Love Divine, and 'Spared', the latter being a setting of Wendy Cope's beautiful poem about 9/11 (a tragedy that sadly I witnessed first hand, standing in the street in Manhattan as the towers came down. Kind regards, Howard Goodall []

Lynette June 18, 2008 at 7:44 PM  

Dear Mr. Goodall,

I'm thrilled that you found my blog and that you were pleased about my posting your piece.

I took a look at your website and I was pleased to find that you are a great supporter of music education. You may or may not know that here in the U.S. the arts are in severe decline and the public schools, being short on financial resources have cut arts programs, including, and most especially choral music programs. Where once they thrived, now they're only found in the largest and most wealthy of schools. My partner and I are great advocates of music education and have a real burden for it.

In February of this year I decided that I would make a regular feature on my Weblog, entitled, "The World's Most Beautiful Music", and every week or so I would feature a musical work from any genre, that I deemed some of the world's most beautiful music. It's a small way of educating my readers about music and keeps me learning and exploring as well. I was honored, indeed, to include your Psalm 23.

Again, I thank-you for your kind comments and I hope that you will find time to visit my blog again. You are most welcome any time.

Kindest Regards,

whizkidforte December 13, 2008 at 8:00 PM  

Dear Mr. Goodall,

I too, am very touched by this choral work! As Lynette said, budget cuts place the arts on chopping blocks nationwide, but that doesn't stop there. Standardized testing causes legions of schools to focus on math and reading (the core subjects), thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act which was enacted in 2002. I am currently living in Florida, where I graduated from high school in Tampa this year. The attainment of a diploma is not easy now, since graduation hopefuls have to pass the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests (FCATs, if you ask me). I read in several places on the Web that you are a "National Singing Ambassador," which is a very instrumental role in getting children to sing. I also heard that you're coming to the Midwest for a conference and I'm looking forward to seeing you there (if I have the resources!)

I wish that I could stand up to the challenge of advocating the arts (music, in particular), but my mother said that there is no room for a job in music so I had to work in the medical field - for now. I am going to work part-time in a music shop (hopefully) in January so maybe I will have a much stronger voice in music advocacy than ever before.

Music advocacy is not the only thing we have in common. We also used to play the clarinet (I emailed you about your position in the Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra, right?) as pre-teens and teens! I am always a fan of you, especially your TV music (I have a Mr. Bean VHS in my house.) and your stunning documentaries I can't resist watching on Ovation TV (especially Organ Works).

Oh, and I am very sorry that you have to witness the terrible attacks on September 11, 2001. I was in middle school at that time and it happened an hour or so near my former home in New Jersey.

Again, I would like to say that your choral work is fantastic!

Kind Regards,
The Whiz Kid Forte


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