Sleeping on creativity

26Mar09

I heard a wonderful interview with Howard Goodall yesterday. He was promoting his new CD, Enchanted Voices, and discussing his creative process as a composer.

Howard is a resident DJ at Classic FM and a composer of music for many TV ads. But he is possibly most famous for his scores for film and TV, which include Red Dwarf and Mr Bean. He also writes choral music, which the new CD focuses on.

Howard worked as the composer and sometimes musician for student shows for Richard Curtis (Four Weddings, Nottinghill, The Boat That Rocked, Comic Relief) and Rowan Atkinson (Not the Nine O’clock News, Mr. Bean, Blackadder) while they were all at university together. They have continued to work with each other as their seperate careers have progressed.

I particularly recommend a track from Howard Goodall’s new CD called Pro alios curantibus (For Those That Care For Others). It could be his Spem in Alium, not in composition technique, but in the emotive harmony and refrain.

ENCHANTED VOICES

During the interview on LBC yesterday, he mentioned that he wakes up in the morning with new compositions complete in his mind. He then writes them directly down on his computer. An amazing talent and he says he has no-idea where the music comes from. He admits he was raised in a very musical family and music clearly surrounds his life. A fascinating talent with a very rare ability.

Howard Goodall - Enchanted Voices

Howard Goodall - Enchanted Voices

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4 Responses to “Sleeping on creativity”

  1. 1 whizkidforte

    Oh gosh, I gotta get a job and squirrel some dough for that CD! I heard that his stepdaughter, Daisy Fancourt (I’m surprised that she is studying music at Christ Church, the same college at Oxford where her stepfather studied the same thing, which is coincidental.) plays the keyboard in all but one (featuring her mother, not to mention the agent of the musicians, Val Fancourt, who takes over her role in Beati mundo corde) track! So much for Howard being in a very musical family! Oh, and I found out that Daisy’s sister, Millie, plays the cello at a youth chamber orchestra named the Marryat Players, and Daisy played the violin there too! Their father also played in a youth orchestra, albeit a different one (Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra) as clarinettist, until he suffered a broken tooth as a result of a biking injury!

    Musical backgrounds and CD participants aside, music sure does run in the Goodall family – I even befriended 4 family members on Facebook (Howard’s brother Adrian, his nephews Barney and Harry, and his cousin Shane) and joined a group regarding his life and works!

  2. 2 Katy Jenkins-Murray

    Enchanted Voices is full of musical family connections.
    Ali Hill and Katy Hill are sisters in law. Ali is daughter of David, conductor (of BBC Singers and Bach Choir) and her mother is, I think her mother teaches singing. Emilia Hughes is daughter of the soprano Margaret Hughes and her brother is baritone and bassoonist Charles Hughes who currently sings with Gloucester Cathedral Choir. (He also appeared in a Harry Potter film as Young Peter Pettigrew!) Their grandfather was Donald J Hughes the conductor and composer.
    Goodall’s new work is mesmerising in its atmosphere and shows very skillful blending of vocal and instrumental texture. “Pro Curatis” which features Emilia Hughes is haunting (incidentally, listen to her on Tarik O Regan’s album – breathtaking) He is an accomplished musician certainly. But can I clear up one thing please? – all the above, and all trained musicians are capable of writing music straight down from head (internal ear) onto paper of computer. It’s what they do. Some can write a single tune, others can add the harmony straight off. It is a great ability, albeit not so rare. Like all things it comes more quickly to some than others and it can be trained and developed throughout life. Careful with the word “talent”, it really does diminish your point, since the word is used so freely these days.

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