PRELUDE FOR VOVA op.640 (April 2012)

A piano piece requested by Vladimir Ashkenazy (Vova) composed on the first three letters of his name
Published by: Highbridge Music Ltd
Commissioned by: Vladimir Ashkenazy
Instrumentation: Solo piano

[Key to Abbreviations]
Duration: 3 mins
First Performance:
Recorded by for release on Decca Classical March 3rd 2014 for the album 'Walking in the Air - the music of Howard Blake' Vladimir Ashkenazy

Recordings Available
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 deccaclassics.com

Recorded as one of the works on the album 'WALKING IN THE AIR - THE MUSIC OF HOWARD BLAKE' performed by VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY and released on March 3rd 2014 on Decca Classics 478 6300 www.deccaclassics.com  www,vladimirashkenazy.com

Notes


The piece consists of a theme based on the first three letters of the name Ashkenazy - A.S.H:  

A natural is the A, S or As in German musical notation is A flat (enharmonically G sharp), H in German musical notation is B naturaL.

The dedication reads:

'Dedicated to Vladimir Davidovich Ashkenazy with greatest respect and admiration'

 

 

 

 

Performances

7th July 2018 Gasteig Munich 8.00 pm

Beethoven sonata op.27 no. 1   (15 mins)

Beethoven sonata op.27 no. 2 Moonlight   (15 mins)
Chopin - Etudes op.25 nos. 1, 2 and 3   (6 mins)
Blake  Prelude for Vova  (3 mins)

- interval -

Schubert Adagio in E major D612    (5 mins)
Blake Snowman Rhapsody    (43 mins)

 

THE SNOWMAN RHAPSODY FOR SOLO PIANO op.663 (August 2014)

A concert arrangement of material from the animated film and the stage show
Published by: Chester Music/Highbridge Music - to rent or buy music contact Chester Music or anna@annamenzies.com
Instrumentation: Solo piano

[Key to Abbreviations]
Duration: 43 mins
First Performance: St James's Piccadilly, Talent Unlimited, Julian Trevelyan, November 17th 2016

Sheet Music Available
Instrumental / piano score for sale
Instrumental / piano score for hire

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, www.chesternovello.com It can be purchased online from MusicRoom.com, 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 anna@annamenzies.com

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.

Movements

  • 1: WAKING TO A WORLD OF SNOW
  • 2: FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW
  • 3: BUILDING THE SNOWMAN
  • 4: BEDTIME FROLICS
  • 5: THE SNOWMAN COMES TO LIFE
  • 6: THE CAT
  • 7: THE CHRISTMAS TREE
  • 8: THE KITCHEN
  • 9: THE LIGHTSWITCH
  • 10: TROPICAL FRUIT CAYPSO
  • 11: THE MUSIC BOX
  • 12: THE MOTOR BIKE
  • 13: THE RABBIT AND THE FOX
  • 14: THE BADGER
  • 15: THE SQUIRREL
  • 16: THE SNOWMAN IS DRIPPING
  • 17: THE SNOWMAN RECOVERS
  • 18: DREAMS OF FLYING
  • 19: WALKING IN THE AIR
  • 20: THE FROZEN NORTH
  • 21: FATHER CHRISTMAS
  • 22: THE DANCE OF THE SNOWMEN
  • 23: THE ICE-PRINCESS AND THE SNOWMAN (PAS DE DEUX)
  • 24: JACK FROST'S STORM DANCE
  • 25: FAREWELLS
  • 26: FLYING HOME
  • 27: BOY SLEEPING
  • 28: NEXT MORNING
  • 29: THE SNOWMAN IS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN

Notes

Programme-note for 'Snowman Rhapsody'

In 2006 Robert Matthew Walker, music critic and editor of Musical Opinion attended a performance of the 2-act stage show 'The Snowman' at The Peacock Theatre and wrote: 'Howard Blake's ballet "The Snowman" is now such a part of the Christmas Season in London that it deserves to be produced again and again well into the 22nd century. It is one of those rare theatrical pieces that appeals and impresses theatregoers of all ages. Musically, the score is a masterpiece. I do not use the word lightly. Howard Blake's world famous song 'Walking in the Air', with which Aled Jones had such a success, is used as a basis for a virtually continuous set of symphonic variations; a subtle and fully-wrought score which entrances the ears of all who are brought into the magical world it conjures up'. Both the original animated film and the later-created ballet were of course originally scored for orchestra, but the composer is also a pianist and over the years has often played excerpts on piano, the most notable being that of the song 'Walking in the Air' which in 2013 was recorded by no less a colleague than Vladimir Ashkenazy. The success of this prompted Blake to pursue the concept further, assembling all those sections of the Snowman music which he felt might lend themselves to piano transcription and gradually creating an immense concert work for solo piano lasting about 43 minutes. Although continuous the work contains many different sections the names of which are printed in the programme. It is thought that perhaps an addition to the work's entertainment may well be derived from the guesswork of trying to identify the sections by the different styles and emotions conveyed by their music.

[Howard Blake)

 

13th April 2014
- 14th April 2014
Vladimir Ashkenazy, Decca CD album of Howard Blake's piano music

  'Walking in the Air', the music of Howard Blake performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy, joined by his son Vovka in the works for two pianos. Classic FM Album of the Weekend 13-14 April 2014


3rd March 2014 Vladimir Ashkenazy and Vovka Ashkenazy, DECCA RELEASE MARCH 3RD 2014

In 2011 Howard wrote the test-piece for The Hong Kong International Piano Competition which he attended. The President of the jury was Vladimir Ashkenazy who liked the work (Speech after long silence) and expressed his desire to record an album of Howard's piano music. This took place between March and July 2013. The repertoire includes two works for two pianos in which he is joined by his son Vovka and concert performances of these works were given in Lugano for RSI on 9th March 2013 just prior to the recordings. The completed 80-minute album also presents a wide selection of Howard Blake's solo pieces for piano performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy himself.  The completed album will be released by Decca on March 3rd 2014. The title track of the album is a solo piano version of 'Walking in the air' of which a single for download was issued as a pre-release for download on December 2nd 2013.

Related Autobiography Chapters


Sir Neville Marriner and The Academy of St. Martin record the woodwind concertos (2012)
Vladimir Ashkenazy records the piano music for Decca (2013)

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