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HOWARD BLAKE FEATURED ON BBC GRAHAM NORTON SHOW, Graham Norton - celebrity interviewer, BBC Terry Wogan House (Broadcasting House LondoN) Saturday, December 17TH 2016

17th December 2017

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'.

'THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE' AND 'THE SNOWMAN' - ALDEBURGH DOUBLE BILL, The girls of The National Children's Choir and the Suffolk Ensemble, directed by Ben Parry, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, performances at 2.00pm and 4.00pm

18th December 2016

The first two public live performance of Howard's new animated film 'The Land of Counterpane' (2016), projected on screen with live children's choir and orchestra took place on Sunday 18th December at 2pm and 4 pm to capacity audiences in the Snape Maltings concert hall in a Howard Blake double-bill along with the original film of 'The Snowman'  film (1982). Great performances by the National Youth Children's Girls Choir and The Suffolk Ensemble Orchestra led by Cleo Gould and conducted by Ben Parry. The concert was the brain-child of Proms director Roger Wright moved to Suffolk to preside over the music of Aldeburgh.

THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE - an animated song-cycle (26-minute film) (DVD)

Recorded: 2016
Artists: The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Mary Erskine Choir, David Rintoul (narrator), Mark Reeve (graphic artist), Emmett Elvin (animator), Howard Blake (director)
Categories: [Film & TV Scores]
Released by: HOWARD BLAKE ENTERPRISES

'THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE' An animated song-cycle for children's choir, narrator and orchestra The poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson was a sickly child confined to his bed, the covering of which was a vivid patchwork quilt known as a 'counterpane'. The pictures on it led him to flights of imagination, which he later recalled in his collection of poems "A Child's Garden of Verses". Twelve of these poems are set to music by Howard Blake and his spellbinding animated film has already excited rapt audiences in Edinburgh, the Daily Mail stating that it is 'the film that's poised to be the new Snowman'. It has been scheduled for a world premiere in Aldeburgh on December 18th 2016 in a fabulous double-bill with 'The Snowman' after which date it will be available for your own choir and orchestra to perform. (Film, score and parts available, contact: anna@annamenzies.com)

Related Opuses

 

CD RELEASE OF HOWARD BLAKE SONGS WITH RICHARD EDGAR WILSON, Richard Edgar Wilson (tenor, Howard Blake (piano), Aldeburgh Music

18th December 2016
Recordings of Howard's songs for tenor and piano made in Snape/Aldeburgh with tenor Richard Edgar Wilson and the composer as pianist, released December 18th 2016 on Highbridge Music, www.howardblake.com. Enquiries; anna@annamenzies.com

JAUME COMAS PERFORMS THE SNOWMAN IN CATALAN, "The Snowman" with Jaume Comas (narrator), Ana Puche(soprano),The Liverpool String Quartet(Jim Clark,Sarah Hill,Daniel Sanxis,Alex Holladay.) Cesar Franck Piano Quintet with Martin Roscoe (piano) Martin Roscoe (piano), Ana Puche (soprano), Jaume Comas (narrator) and Liverpool String Quartet, Saint Vincent, Castellvell del Camp,Tarragona,Spain, January 6th, 8.00pm (other venues 7,8 tbc)

6th January 2017
- 8th January 2017

Day: 6th Jannuary, 2017
Hour: 7:30 pm
Venue: Església de Santa Maria Assumpta
Town: Maspujols

Day: 7h Jannuary, 2017
Hour: 20:30 pm
Venue: Esjlésia de Sant Vicenç Màrtir
Town: Castellvell del Camp


Repertoire:

- Howard Blake (OBE): A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY (FOR STRING QUARTET) (opus
611) THE SNOWMAN CONCERT VERSION for narrator (or film), boy soprano and
orchestra (opus 323)

- Cesar Frank: Quintet for Piano and Strings

- Music from films and traditional Christmas songs.






FIRST VISIT OF THE SNOWMAN TO THE MARLOWE THEATRE CANTERBURY, Snowman touring company

18th January 2017

ISABELLE - RELEASE OF A CD OF HARP MUSIC, Isabelle Marchewka, Dusseldorf, Residenz Grafenberger Wald

9th March 2017
A composite album of music by William Alwyn, Malcolm Arnold, Howard Blake, Jan Friedlin, Tobias van de Locht and Miklos Rosza

'DIVERSIONS FOR CELLO AND ORCHESTRA' IN PORTO, PORTUGAL - BENEDICT KLOECKNER & MICHAEL SANDERLING, Solo Cello Benedict Kloeckner, Conductor Michael Sanderling, Orquestra Sinfonica Porto Portugal, Porto, Portugal

17th March 2017
Two performances of 'Diversions' in the version for cello and full orchestra.

PIANO CONCERTO IN KARLSRUHE - KIT ORCHESTRA, INDLEKOFER/HILSCHMANN, Evelyn Hilschmann (piano),Nikolaus Indlekofer (cond.) KIT Philharmonic Orchestra

18th March 2017
- 19th March 2017

EINE FRAU OHNE NAMEN - 'A WOMAN WITH NO NAME' - KREFELD AND MONNCHEN GLADBACH OPERA, Robert North Dance Company with soloists choir and full orchestra conducted by Alexander Steinitz, Krefeld Opera Rheinland Germany

22nd March 2017

Two-act ballet, the score consisting of major musical works and excerpts of works by Howard Blake. Scenario, Choreography and Direction by Robert North

Eine Frau ohne Namen (UA)

Ballett von Robert North
Musik von Howard Blake (*1938)

Eine Frau, der wir vielleicht auf der Straße, im Café oder im Kino zufällig begegnen, ist die namenlose Protagonistin in dem neuen Handlungsballett von Ballettdirektor Robert North. Beispielhaft für alle Frauen, die ihr Leben bewusst gestalten und Sinn und Erfüllung darin finden, stellt North eine ‚Frau ohne Namen’ in den Fokus seiner Choreografie und kreiert so auf feinfühlige und besonnene Weise ein tänzerisches Plädoyer für Selbstbestimmung und Individualität.
Einfühlsam entwickelt er ihre Lebensgeschichte, beginnend mit der symbolischen Geburt: Ein Mädchen tritt in den Kreis des Lebens, wächst heran, verliebt sich. Das junge Paar heiratet, Kinder kommen zur Welt. Familiäres Glück geht einher mit beruflichem Erfolg: Die Frau ist eine kreative und fantasievolle Autorin. So tanzt sie durchs Leben, Jahr um Jahr verrinnt. Am Ende stirbt die Frau ohne Namen in den Armen ihres Mannes – und findet sich im Jenseits wieder, vom Chor der Engel fröhlich willkommen geheißen. Diese allegorische Geschichte stellt das irdische Leben in einen umfassenden existentiellen Zusammenhang und nimmt in künstlerisch freier Interpretation auch auf Motive aus der Mythologie Bezug. Die Musik zu “Eine Frau ohne Namen” komponierte Howard Blake, der vor allem durch Filmmusiken, u. a. zu dem weltbekannten Animationsfilm “The Snowman”, in seiner Heimat Großbritannien, aber auch international bekannt wurde.
Seit vielen Jahren verbindet ihn eine freundschaftliche Zusammenarbeit mit Robert North: So entstand 1996 im Auftrag des Göteborger Opernhauses das Ballett “Eva”, welches nun nach gründlicher Revision unter dem neuen Titel “Eine Frau ohne Namen” am Theater Krefeld und Mönchengladbach vorgestellt wird. Howard Blake schrieb eine Partitur im klassischen Stil für großes Sinfonieorchester mit Solovioline, die sich in Prolog und zwei Akte (Das Leben einer Frau /Tod und Jenseits) gliedert. Durch Einsatz der menschlichen Stimme erweitert Blake die Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten: Eine Sopranistin und der gemischte Chor bilden eine zusätzliche musikalische Ebene, die an die Struktur eines Oratoriums erinnert.


Musik  Howard Blake

Musikalische Leitung: Alexander Steinitz
Choreografie: Robert North
Choreografieassistenz: Sheri Cook
Bühne und Kostüme: Udo Hesse
Dramaturgie: Regina Härtling

Eine Frau: Karine Andrei-Sutter, Elisa Rossignoli
Ihre Eltern: Cecile Medour, Luca Ponti
Eine Freundin: Elisa Rossignoli, Teresa Levrini
Erster Ehemann: Alessandro Borghesani
Zweiter Ehemann: Raphael Peter
Kinder: Polina Petkova, Paolo Franco
Freunde: Takashi Kondo, Giuseppe Lazzara
Engel: Victoria Hay
Damen: Irene van Dijk, Jessica Gillo, Victoria Hay, Teresa Levrini, Cecile Medour, Yasuko Mogi, Zinnia Nomura, Polina Petkova, Amelia Seth
Herren: Marco Antonio, Alessandro Borghesani, Paolo Franco, Abine Leao Ka, Robin Perizonius, Raphael Peter, Luca Ponti, Radoslaw Rusiecki

'THE BEAR' WITH THE MALAYSIAN PHILHARMONIC, The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Five children's concerts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

22nd April 2017
- 23rd April 2017

THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA PRESENT A CONCERT OF MUSIC BY HOWARD BLAKE, Howard Blake, composer/pianist/conductor with Benedict Kloeckner (cello), Nicolas D'Autricourt (violin) and Sophie Witte (soprano), The Cadogan Hall,Chelsea,London, September 7th. 2017, 7.30pm

7th September 2017

An evening of music by Howard Blake OBE in commemoration of  The Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.

SLEEPWALKING  - for 8 cellos and vocalise, solo soprano Sophie Witte.
Composed as a tribute and musical mosaic of Diana's life and tragic death. In seven linked movements: Tranquillo - Allegretto- Maestoso - Vivace - Adagio - Allegro Furioso - Tranquillo

The very sound of eight cellos and soprano seems to evoke a surreal landscape of the unconscious, through which one might imagine a woman walking, singing wordlessly, with closed eyes, as if in a painting by Fuseli or Delvaux. As the music begins she lies in a deep untroubled sleep (Tranquillo). Images of childhood (Allegretto) give way to memories of a great occasion - perhaps a marriage? (Maestoso). A crazily-animated helter-skelter of notes suggests laughter and gaiety (Vivace). There is a memory of tragic , yearning love  (Adagio) but the memory is broken by intimations of danger and violence. (Allegro Furioso). There is a waking moment, then a sense of return and sleep (Tranquillo).
 
PIANO CONCERTO - piano soloist Howard Blake, conductor Matthew Coorey (tbc)
 
The Piano Concerto was commissioned from the composer by The Philharmonia to celebrate the 30th birthday of their President, The Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, and was first performed  in her presence on 19 May 1991 at the Royal Festival Hall London with the composer as soloist. A Sony recording, which  included  ‘Diversions for cello and orchestra’ was  released in May 1991 and re-released in October 2008.

1. Tranquillo – Allegro con brio  2. Andante espressivo   3. Vivace    

 

INTERVAL

 

 

DIVERSIONS FOR CELLO AND ORCHESTRA 

The arrangement of this work in its orchestral form was commissioned by the great French cellist Maurice Gendron with whom the composer collaborated on the editing of the solo part. The soloist  in this concert will be Benedict Kloeckner who has played this it  many times with the composer as pianist. They met in Bratislava in 2010 when Benedict won the EU young musician of the year  by playing 'Diversions' as the sole test piece. Howard Blake will conduct.

 
 
ELEGIA STRAVAGANTE FOR VIOLIN, CELLO AND ORCHESTRA ( FIRST PERFORMANCE) - Nicolas Dautricourt, violin: Benedict Kloeckner, cello: Howard Blake conductor.
 
Composer's notes:
  • 1: Andante (rapsodico)

    A septuplet 'trill-flourish' motif in C major leads to an upward-sweeping melodic fragment of a minor 2nd and major 7th, which was to be the material on which the work was based.

  • 2: Scherzo malizioso

    I was searching for a 6/8 allegro idea and remembered a spiky, pizzicato fugue idea which seemed to fit perfectly.

  • 3: Tragico

    This begins with the upward-sweeping motif, but is now very slow and sad. It forms a bridge and modulation to E-minor where the cello enunciates a theme of parting which develops rapidly and unexpectedly to a colossal climax, then falls back down to a paused low chord of C major which begins section 4.

  • 4: Grave, molto espressivo

    A cadenza for violin and cello which then starts to accelerate  towards section 5

  • 5: Allegro furioso

    Cello and violin play in unison at the 16th against a constantly turning phrase using the ever-present 'trill-flourish' motif. Martial and tragic hints and twists are now overcome by massive upward scalic movements seeking a major key and suddenly triumphantly asserting that of E major.

  • 6: Giojoso, estatico

    Giojoso, ecstatico transforms and inverts the minor 'upward-sweeping' theme into a major 'hymn of triumph' punctuated with huge low chords. The energy of this is so great however that it must inevitably sink down to regain stability and a hardly-moving harmonic 'thirds duplet' grows gradually quieter and slower until it sinks away to nothing without resolution.

  • 7: Andante, come prima 

    The music of the opening returns but this time in the key to which the piece has ascended - E major, the final bar picking up the 'trill-flourish' motif and giving the whole work a resolution with a coda on violin and cello sounding alone - yet perhaps finally together.

 

 

PERFORMANCE OF THE DRAMATIC ORATORIO 'BENEDICTUS' IN STOCKHOLM, Olov Risberg, St. Gorans Stockholm, Sweden

November 2018
tbc

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