- Online Store
- Musical Works
- YouTube Videos
- The Snowman
NFT 1, National Film Theatre, April 25, 1963
Acquired by the National Film and Television Archive 1963
Trio for Flute, cello and harp, opus 0559, is recorded on the album HOWARD BLAKE - CHAMBER MUSIC issued by Naxos CDE 84553 2005. It is an arrangement made in 2005 of the original Trio for flute clarinet and piano opus 25, itself adapted from the music for the film 'A Few days' on 1963.
Flute: Gabrielle Byam-Grounds, Cello: Joseph Spooner, Harp: Rowena Bass
Produced by Richard Hughes and Susanna Stanzeleit
HOW THE FILM WAS MADE
Howard wrote, directed and edited a black and white 16mm film called 'A Few Days' whilst working at The National Film Theatre. The cameraman was co-chief projectionist Alf Francis and his assistant Neville Walker. Cast were members of staff except for the girl, Elona Thomas, who was studying opera at nearby Guildhall. Blake wrote the voice-over poem which she spoke and he also composed the music score, recorded by students from the Royal Academy of Music. The sound engineer was John Fletcher, director of Dateline Films for whom Howard was soon to work as a composer of music scores. (Notably 'Red,White and Zero'). The film was given four public performances in the main theatre of the NFT from April 23-26 1963 and attracted some attention. New York Times critic Richard Roud found it very compelling and loved the break-up scene on the beach, saying 'that's just the way it is!'. FT film critic David Robinson took a keen interest and it was suggested by BFI directors James Quinn and Stanley Reid that Blake might wish to take up a scholarship to study as a film director. However at this point in time Howard felt that he had learned enough about filming from the experience and must turn again to music which he had begun very greatly to miss. Following the performances the film was acquired by The National Film and Television Archive (British Film Institute Film Library) where it remains.
HOW THE MUSIC FROM THE FILM BECAME PUBLISHED AS CHAMBER MUSIC
In 1964 Howard was approached by the music publishers Chappell and Co. who suggested that he might revise the Romantic Theme (2. Allegro) from the film and use it to create a first movement of a trio, also suggesting that it would be more 'useful' if the harp part could be replaced by piano. Howard agreed to this and composed the 2nd movement (Andante-Waltz-Andante) and 3rd movement (Allegro). The completed work was published by Chappell's imprint 'Music for Education' (Music for instrumental ensemble) in 1964 as "Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Piano'' (opus 25) In 1961 Chappell's had published Howard's 'Fantasy Allegro' - a trio for Flute/or Oboe/or B flat clarinet, Bassoon and Piano in their 'Music for Woodwind Ensemble' series; 'Party Pieces' - a suite for pianoforte; and 'Burlesca' for violin and pianoforte. The splendid premises of Chappell and Co. at this time were at 50 Bond Street and it was a great tragedy that not so much later the building burnt down destroying original manuscripts and extensive archives. The publications by Highbridge Music are reprinted from Howard's original materials.
|17th July 2014||In 1961 I started working at the The National Film Theatre. The Co-Chief projectionist was Alf Francis. He came from Essex and was always cheerful. He was crazy about film, amazingly perceptive, practical and blessed with a wonderful Cockney sense of humour. On the day I began work we decided to try and make a film and along with fellow-projectionist Neville Walker we spent our Sunday mornings shooting the B&W film 'A Few Days', shot on a 16mm Bolex with Alf as cameraman. It was eventually to be programmed by the NFT and purchased by the British Film Archive. The support and experience I gained from this encouraged me to venture into the larger worlds of professional music and cinema. Alf remained a friend for the rest of his life and I was honoured to play the organ at his funeral at the request of his wife Anthea,
Yeovil crematorium chapel
|4th October 2013||As part of the festival and 75th birthday celebrations, Howard Blake introduces (in German) a programme of projected film excerpts featuring his film scores, Filmkunsttheater Metropol, Dusseldorf 7.30pm Die Filmmusik von Howard Blake Vortrag von und mit Howard Blake in deutscher Sprache mit Filmausschnitten|