Never To Forget – remembering the health workers who gave their lives to protect us


Written by: Howard Goodall

Read our patron Howard Goodall’s article from the Byline Times. 

Howard Goodall explains the genesis of his NHS memorial choral work and the effect of meeting relatives of those who died during the pandemic.

The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in June 1967, had two songs on it inspired in part by stories reported in newspapers: She’s Leaving Home (The Daily Mirror’s report about teenager Melanie Coe’s absconding from her parent’s home) and A Day in the Life (The Daily Mail’s description of the death in a road accident of Guinness heiress Tina Browne).

These weren’t the first pieces of music prompted by newspaper stories nor were they the most recent. Elvis Presley’s 1956 recording of Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton’s Heartbreak Hotel was inspired by stories in either The Miami Herald or El Paso Times, depending on which of two potential sources one finds most convincing.

However, the name ‘Anujkumar Kuttikkottu Pavithran’ suggests a rhythm of far greater complexity that attracts a rise and fall of a quite different shape of the melody. This process was multiplied hundreds of times and my job as composer was to unite these rhythms and sounds into a musical whole that might make sense to a listener. Thankfully, Gill O’Neill of the LSC led a team to research and verify the correct pronunciations of the names, one by one, so that my published score can now carry phonetic-style guides as well as the names for future performances.

Read more on the Byline Times Article.