THE HAPPY PRINCE op.165 (June 1973)

A film project that vanished
Published by: Highbridge Music Ltd
Commissioned by: Potterton Productions, Montreal
Sheet Music Available
Instrumental / piano score for sale
Instrumental parts for sale


On completing the score of 'The Rainbow Boys', the director Gerry Potterton asked Howard if he would write both songs and score for an animated film of Oscar Wilde's 'The Happy Prince'. Howard was delighted and began work, completing a 'swallow theme' and a song for the bird flying sadly back to Egypt, called 'Flying through the Air'. When Howard rang from England to say he had completed them he was devastated to hear that they had given the work to another composer, Ron Goodwin. Howard rang Ron who said: 'Tough mate, that's the business.' The songs were discarded for 8 years until in 1981 Potterton visited London and introduced Howard to producer John Coates, who showed him a 9-minute animatic of 'The Snowman'. Howard suggested using 'Flying in the Air' and making a film without dialogue. He wrote a new lyric called 'Walking in the Air' and recorded it as well as the entire score, which was based around it.

The swallow theme emerged eventually as a movement called 'Swallows' for 'Six Romantic Pieces for clarinet and piano' (op.563), sketched in 1990 for Thea King, but rejected by Martin Kingsbury, publishing director of Faber. They were discarded until a chance meeting in 2005 with clarinettist Janet Hilton encouraged Howard to revise and complete them.

Related Works

'THE SNOWMAN CONCERT VERSION (to be performed with optional projected film, or narration, or both), for boy soprano and orchestra' op.323 (October 1983) (Audio Sample Available)
A concert version of the score for the animated film
'THE RAINBOW BOYS' op.163 (February 1973)
Score for a Canadian feature film starring Donald Pleasance. Kate Reid and Don Calfa
'THE REMARKABLE ROCKET' op.189 (August 1974)
Score for an animated film of the Oscar Wilde story for CBS/Reader's Digest with narration by David Niven
'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
'SIX ROMANTIC PIECES' op.407 (February 1990)
Concert suite for clarinet & piano
'ALL GOD'S CREATURES' op.468 (August 1994)
Song-cycle for children's voices and orchestra (with optional projected film )
'SIX ROMANTIC PIECES' op.563 (January 2006)
Suite of concert pieces (for clarinet and piano) see 407

Related Autobiography Chapters

'Tintack the cobbler' and Dick Williams, Helen Watts and 'Three Sussex Songs' (1973)
Israel, The Piano Quartet, The Remarkable Rocket, The New National Songbook (1974)
Victor/Victoria, 'Sinfonietta' for Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, 'Snowman' demo (1981)

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