Howard Goodall donates 'The Vicar of Dibley' manuscript to the Bodleian

23 February 2009

IMG_0748_crop_smallHoward Goodall, composer and broadcaster, has donated his manuscript of the theme music from BBC TV series The Vicar of Dibley to the Bodleian Library. The manuscript is showcased in the current Bodleian exhibition Hallelujah! The British Choral Tradition which runs until 25 April 2005.

Mr Goodall, who studied music at Christ Church, Oxford, opened the exhibition back in November. In January 2007 he was appointed as England's first ever National Ambassador for Singing and he is Classic FM's Composer-in-Residence for 2008-9. His works include: theme tuned for television programmes such as Mr Bean, The Thin Blue Line, The Catherine Tate Show and QI; musicals: The Hired Man (1984), Girlfriends (1986), Days of Hope (1991), Silas Marner (1993), The Kissing-Dance (1999), The Dreaming (2001), The Winter's Tale (2005) and Two Cities (2006); choral music: In Memoriam Anne Frank, O Lord God of Time and Eternity, settings of Psalm 23, Love Divine, Missa Aedis Christi. Howard Goodall also frequently presents music television programmes.

Howard Goodall said: ‘Visiting the Bodleian Library's music manuscript collection as a student in the late 1970s was a huge source of inspiration, so I am delighted to be able to offer to the library the original pen manuscript of my setting of Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd), the opening and closing themes of the BBC TV series The Vicar of Dibley. What is remarkable is that, as it was composed in 1994 for the very first episode (and recorded by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, directed by Stephen Darlington), it was one of the last of my compositions to be created on manuscript paper, with a pen. If I had been commissioned to write it just one year later it would have been transcribed straight onto computer through Sibelius music notation software, a method I have used ever since, in common with most, if not all, contemporary professional composers. So this manuscript has a special significance for me and I am honoured that it now sits alongside such masterworks as Handel's Messiah and Tippett's A Child of our Time in the Hallelujah! exhibition.’

Richard Ovenden, Keeper of Special Collections and Associate Director, Bodleian Library said: ‘We are grateful to Howard Goodall for his donation.  Howard Goodall is a leading contemporary composers and the Bodleian Library is honoured to become the home of the manuscript of one of this famous theme tunes. ’

The Bodleian’s Music collections includes about 500,000 items of printed music, 45,000 books and periodicals, 3,500 manuscripts and 1,000 microfilms, making it the second largest research library for music in the UK. Apart from natural strengths in British music from the medieval period onwards, its collections cover music and its literature from many parts of the world.

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