THE SNOWMAN (animated children's film) op.310 (September 1982)

Channel 4 animated film directed by Diane Jackson, wordless except for the featured song, 'Walking in the Air', music and lyrics by Howard Blake who also composed, orchestrated and conducted the score. Oscar nomination, best short film; BAFTA best children's programme; Bafta TV nomination - best graphics; Grand Prix Tampere International Short Film Festival etc
Commissioned by: Channel 4,TVC
Instrumentation: Solo treble, 2121 2100 2perc, piano,celeste, harp, strings

[Key to Abbreviations]
Note on Lyrics: by Howard Blake
Duration: 26 mins
First Performance:

Recorded 5th July 1982 at CTS Studios with The Sinfonia of London, leader Jack Rothstein, conducted by Howard Blake, sound engineer John Richards,. Final version of 'Walking in the Air' as used in the film tracked on to the completed orchestral track at De Lane Lea Dean Street London by Peter Auty, St. Paul's Cathedral chorister, directed by the composer.

First Shown on Channel 4 TV Christmas Eve 1982

All sheet music for "The Snowman" and "Walking In The Air" since 2010 is published and available from Chester Music Ltd, part of The Music Sales Group, It can be purchased online from, or from music retailers.

"Walking In The Air" is also available in a concert piano-only version arranged by the composer direct from Highbridge Music as part of the collection of piano pieces called "Lifecycle", available form Amazon or from Highbridge Music; enquiries to

Recordings Available
The Snowman - London Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded: May 2006
Artists: London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chris Jarvis (narrator), David Parry (conductor)

Walking in the Air - Vladimir Ashkenazy - The piano music of Howard Blake
Released: 3rd March 2014
Recorded: June 2013
Artists: Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) Vovka Ashkenazy (piano)
Available from: Amazon UK

Video of the film DVD Universal 902 030 2 11, DVD Columbia Tristar Home Video from Amazon

Howard Blake describes 25 years of The Snowman animated film and 10 years of The Snowman Stage Show at Sadler's Wells Peacock Theatre in London's West End and plays "Walking in the Air". View the recording here.

The classic original Columbia album conducted by Howard Blake with treble soloist Peter Auty and narration by Bernard Cribbins is available from Sony Music Entertainment CDX71116CD, Amazon and retailers.

The 2010 DVD film of The Snowman Live Stage Show narrated by Joanna Lumley is available from Sony Music Entertainment, CDR 81267; also from Amazon and retailers.


The film was drawn and directed by Diane Jackson, produced by John Coates, based on the wordless picture book by Raymond Briggs published 1975

Queries for sheet music should be made to Chester Music/Music Sales Ltd, 14-16 Berners Street, London W1T 3LJ tel: 0044 207 612 7400    e-mail:

 Queries in regard to grand rights, publicity material,film rights for the original cartoon film and projection rights for use with live orchestra,merchandising,books etc are available from: 

+Queries in regard to The Stage Show, as performed at Birmingham Rep and The Peacock Theatre in association with Sadler’s Wells (1993-2005), should be addressed to:

Stuart Rogers,
Birmingham Rep,
Broad Street,
Birmingham B12EP.,
tel: 0121 245 2000,
fax: 1021 245 2100.

+ Any other queries falling outside these categories in regard to ‘The Snowman’ should be made to or


Lyric of 'Walking in the Air' by Howard Blake 1982

We're walking in the air,
We're floating in the moonlit sky,
The people far below are sleeping as we fly.

I'm holding very tight,
I'm riding in the midnight blue,
I'm finding I can fly so high above with you.

On across the world
The villages go by like dreams,
The rivers and the hills,
The forests and the streams.

Children gaze open mouthed,
Taken by surprise,
Nobody down below believes their eyes.

We're surfing in the air,
We're swimming in the frozen sky,
We're drifting over icy
Mountains floating by.

Suddenly swooping low on an ocean deep,
Rousing up a mighty monster from his sleep,

We're walking in the air,
We're floating in the midnight sky
And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly


17th December 2016 Graham Norton - celebrity interviewer, BBC Terry Wogan House (Broadcasting House LondoN) Saturday, December 17TH 2016

The release of the new duet version of 'Walking in the Air' on Aled Jones's 'One Voice at Christmas' album caused a flurry of publicity over Christmas 2016. Howard was invited to take part in the top celebrity chat show on BBC Radio, the Graham Norton show, to talk about his long-lived musical career and was asked questions about his role in 'The Italian Job' with Quincy Jones, his beginnings in a pub in the Edgware Road called The Lord Chancellor, his role as pianist at Abbey Road at the time of the Beatles and how he came to write the soundtrack of the worlsd-famous animated film 'The Snowman'.

24th December 2015
- 25th December 2015
Music score composed and conducted by Howard Blake including the song: 'Walking in the air' for which he also wrote the lyrics; vocal soloist St.Paul's Cathedral chorister Peter Auty; Orchestra: The Sinfonia of London; story based on a picture-book by Raymond Briggs developed into a half-hour film animation storyboard directed by Dianne Jackson, with flying scene animation by Steve Weston. Producer John Coates (TVC) for Channel 4 Television 1982., Channel 4 Television

Three 2015 tv Christmas showings of 'The Snowman'

Christmas Eve (Thursday 24th December) 

7.40am- 8.05am - Channel 4

4.55pm - 5.20pm - Channel 4

Christmas Day (Friday 25th December)

7pm- 7.25pm - E4

25th December 2014 Howard Blake talks about 'The Snowman' in a programme about the greatest Christmas movies 25 12 2014 8-10pm, SKY MOVIES SKY 1 HD
14th December 2014 Howard Blake talks about 'The Snowman' in a programme about the greatest Christmas movies 14 12 2014 6.30-8.30pm,
21st August 2014
- 21st August 2016
Four recently-published books have included biographical/critical articles on Howard Blake,

1. DREAM REPAiRMAN - a biography by Howard's close friend and top film editor Jim Clark which mentions the ill-fated score for the Dustin Hoffman film 'Agatha' on which they worked.

Jim Clark, LandMarc Press (UK)

 2. BATHED IN LIGHTNING - a book about Sixties music-session men which concentrates on the great guitarist John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu) but mentions a great many others including Howard who worked with John at that time

Colin Harper, Outline Press (UK)

 3. THE ENCYCYCLOPAEDIA OF FILM COMPOSERS - a tome that tries to detail all of the well-known film composers since the start of cinema including a feature on Howard Blake.

Thoms S. Hischak, Rowman and Littlefield (USA)

 4. ENCOUNTERS WITH BRITISH COMPOSERS - Well-written articles about contemporary composers drawn directly from live interviews, including a lively one with Howard

Andrew Palmer The Boydell Press (UK)



25th December 2012 From Aled Jones to Nat King Cole, Band Aid to Mariah Carey, Brenda Lee to The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, these are the songs that each year help bring the seasonal spirit to Christmas., ITV1

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the release of the biggest-selling Christmas song of all time - Bing Crosby's White Christmas - ITV1 is producing a prime-time special about classic Christmas songs - and Howard Blake is invited to be part of it.
ITV are delighted to announce that Walking In The Air has made their final shortlist, and would love to interview Howard about memories of writing the song, as well as what it means to have  written a favourite that is so fondly remembered and revisited every Christmas.

25th December 2012 Brandenburgische Staatsorchester Frankfurt(am Oder) Richard Wolf, Knabensopran Thorsten Spohr, Sprecher Dirigent: Joseph Bousso (Projected film, text in German), Nikolaisaal Potsdam,Berlin 17.00

Leopold Mozart "Musikalische Schlittenfahrt"
Howard Blake Der Schneemann

27th October 2012 Howard Blake - composer/lyricist/conductor/producer, Peter Auty (boy soprano), The Sinfonia of London,

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research. The Commander of the International Space Station recently 'had a vision that Howard Blake's “Walking in the Air” song from “The Snowman” animated film would be great to have in the background of one of the spectacular time lapse aurora videos he’s working to capture' and Howard agreed with USA government authorities to proceed with this project. The amazing results of this collaboration can now be seen on You Tube. Dan Cook the mastermind of the project writes: 'We have completed the ISS imagery time-lapse project with “Walking in the Air” and wanted to share the feature with you.  The imagery is absolutely stunning and coupled with the music, it becomes even more of a captivating experience.'

 Walking on Air (on NASA’s “ReelNASA” YouTube Channel)

 And, I’m sure you all may have seen “The Snowman” animated short film but for ease of reference, here’s the clip where the magical snowman takes the young boy on a night-time flying adventure where they experience many bird’s-eye views, including the ever-so-phenomenal dancing aurora.

The video is also currently featured on the NASA home page @ within the “NASA Multimedia” videos section located near the center of the page.

25th December 2011
- 26th December 2011

Boxing Day 8.00am Ch.4 TV: A showing of the original animated film of The Bear

Related Autobiography Chapters

All The Way Up (1970)
Israel, The Piano Quartet, The Remarkable Rocket, 'The New National Songbook' (1974)
Sinfonietta for brass, Elegy for Wind Quartet, Mrs. Reinhardt, Lullaby (1981)
The Hunger,The Snowman, Heartbeat, All for Love, The Lords of Discipline (1982)
Vladimir Ashkenazy records my piano music for Decca (2013)

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