The writing of a Requiem is a special challenge for any composer. The great Requiems of the past by composers such as Mozart, Verdi, Fauré and Duruflé interpret the sacred Requiem text literally, and represent a prayer for the salvation of the departed soul(s). Howard Goodall s Requiem, by contrast, is intended to provide solace to the grieving. The composer said, For me, a modern Requiem is one that acknowledges the terrible, unbearable loss and emptiness that accompanies the death of loved ones, a loss that is not easily ameliorated with platitudes about the joy awaiting us in the afterlife. ... Musical expression can I hope provide some outlet, some reflection, some transportation, even some comfort....This was to be a Requiem for the living, a Requiem focussing on interrupted lives.
Commissioned by Mark Stephenson on behalf of London Musici to celebrate the orchestra s 20th anniversary, Eternal Light: A Requiem is a stand-alone choral work that will have its London premiere in November 2008 in an exciting collaborative version for choir, soloists, orchestra and dance. The dance, Eternal Light, commissioned by Sadler s Wells Theatre, will be performed by Rambert Dance Company, its associate orchestra London Musici and Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford. Rambert Dance Company and its artistic director, Mark Baldwin, worked closely with Howard Goodall from the conception of the project to find ways in which the themes of the Requiem might be explored further in dance.
Three other choral works by Howard Goodall are also included in this CD: his setting of Psalm 23, well known as the theme tune of the BBC s Vicar of Dibley series; Love Divine, a hymn of praise set to Charles Wesley s reassuring, open-hearted words; and, finally, Goodall s setting of Spared, Wendy Cope s poem capturing the feelings of many people following the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001. [The work] acts, I hope, as a fitting companion to Eternal Light: A Requiem.
About the Artist
Almost everyone knows at least one of Howard Goodall's popular TV themes for Blackadder, Mr Bean, Red Dwarf, The Catherine Tate Show, Q.I. or The Vicar of Dibley. Other television scores include The Borrowers and his BAFTA-nominated The Gathering Storm. Film scores include Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie (1997), Richard Curtis Bernard and the Genie and Mr Bean's Holiday (2007).
He is a prodigious writer of choral music and has contributed songs to several platinum-selling CDs. In Memoriam Anne Frank was performed at the first National Holocaust Memorial concert in January 2001, O Lord God of Time and Eternity at the 2003 Service of Remembrance for the Iraq war in St Paul's Cathedral, and his settings of Psalm 23 and Love Divine are amongst the most performed of all contemporary choral works.
In the theatre his musicals have been performed throughout the world. The Hired Man, which he wrote with Melvyn Bragg in 1984, won The Ivor Novello Award for Best Musical (1985), 4 Olivier Award nominations, in Holland a John Kraaijkamp Musical Award (2001), 7 Waterford International Musical Festival awards and in 2004 the TMA Award for Best Musical. In 2007-8 the New Perspectives Theatre Company took a revival of it on a 6-month UK tour, followed by Greenwich Theatre in London and a highly-acclaimed season Off-Broadway. Girlfriends (1986) was premiered in London's West End in 1987 and in Washington DC in May 2003. Days of Hope (1990) was a co-production of Hampstead Theatre and the Oxford Stage Company, was revived at London's King's Head Theatre in 2007, Silas Marner was commissioned by the 1993 Salisbury Festival and subsequently revived by the City of Birmingham Touring Opera. The Kissing-Dance (1999) and The Dreaming (2001) were both commissioned by the National Youth Music Theatre and toured extensively after seasons at the Royal Opera House's Linbury Theatre. A Winter's Tale was premiered at the Sage Gateshead in December 2005, Two Cities at Salisbury Playhouse in September 2006. 2009 will see the UK Tour and West End premiere of Love Story.
As well as presenting a range of BBC TV and Radio series, Howard also writes and presents his own highly-successful Channel 4 documentary series on the theory and history of music. For these six series he has been honoured by a BAFTA, an RTS Judges Prize and over a dozen other major international broadcast awards. He hosts a weekly Saturday lunchtime show on Classic FM, Howard Goodall On...
He is a tireless advocate for music education, receiving the 2007 Sir Charles Grove/Making Music Prize for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, a British Academy of Composers & Songwriters Gold Badge for exceptional work in support of his fellow composers, Honorary Doctorates of Music from Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln, and Bolton University, the Voice of the Listener & Viewer Naomi Sargant Memorial Award for 'Outstanding Contribution to Education in Broadcasting' and in January 2007 he was appointed as England s first ever National Ambassador for Singing, leading a 4-year programme (Sing Up) to improve the provision of group singing for all primary-age children.
Howard is Classic FM's Composer-in-Residence for 2008-9.