There is a song on The Choirboys CD called Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) and it was written by Howard Goodall as the theme to the BBC series Mr. Bean. I believe it’s the Christ Church boys who sing it on the show. It’s really a beautiful piece of music, very classical sounding.
Goodall has written theme music for other shows like The Vicar of Dibley and Blackadder and has won awards for his work.
In 2006 he came out with a CD called Winter Lullabies which he recorded with The Boys of Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford. This CD has six songs that were composed by Goodall using words from the writings of Thomas Campion, Joseph Mohr, Theo Dorgan and two anonymous pieces. The lyrics of Lullaby of Winter were written by Goodall, himself, and it speaks of the Christian Nativity story.
Now Winter Nights Enlarge paints a cozy picture of winter nights with blazing chimneys, cups of wine and yellow waxen lights while Crossing the Border is bleak and sad. “Home is where they broke our hearts and burned our houses, laid us low…”
These compositions were written with the great voices of the Christ Church boys specifically in mind. They also included some standards like Panis Angelicus and Ave Verum.
One interesting thing about all of these songs is that the music is provided by the great harpist Catrin Finch, called the queen of harps. She is young and beautiful and plays magnificently. Sometimes it sounds like two people are playing or one person with an unusual number of fingers.
Even though this CD has winter as a theme there is nothing particularly Christmasy about it except for the last song, O Holy Night. This is good, easy listening for any time of the year.
Oh, and I really like the artwork on the cover.