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'THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE' LIVE TO FILM AT SNAPE MALTINGS ALDEBURGH, 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]

'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:

Related Opuses


CD RELEASE OF HOWARD BLAKE SONGS, 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, Enquiries;

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


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.


18th January 2017

'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

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

22nd April 2017
- 23rd April 2017

ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA CONCERT, 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    






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.



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