*BLOOD RELATIVES op.264 (April 1978)

Score for a cinema feature film starring Donald Sutherland and Stephane Audran. Directed by Claude Chabrol
Published by: Jambo Music
Commissioned by: Michael Klinger/Peter Collinson/Julian Melzack
Instrumentation: orchestra
[Key to Abbreviations]
Duration: 20 mins
First Performance: Rec CTS April 5th 1978


Starring Donald Sutherland and Stephane Audran. A France/Canada production.

The composer writes: 'In March 1978 I had just finished arranging and recording period dance music and acting as Musical Director on the film 'Agatha' and was waiting for 2 weeks for the final cut to be ready for scoring. I was down at Shepperton and happened to meet Peter Collinson, famous for directing 'The Italian Job'. He asked if I would have time to write 'a few cues' for a film by Claude Chabrol called 'Blood Relatives'. I said I thought that Chabrol always had his own composer to score for him, Pierre Jansen, but Peter explained that he and Michael Klinger had acquired the English-language film rights outright and they thought with a new score the film might succeed in the USA/UK market. I had some qualms about this and whether I had the time, but was talked into it and wrote a score within the 2 weeks, recording it at CTS Wembley on April 5th with Sid Sax's 'National Philharmonic Orchestra' and my favourite engineer John Richards. I used a very dark scoring for the horrifying opening with 4 bass flutes, Bass Clarinet, 2 bassoons, Contra-bassoon, 4 Horns, 3 trombones, harp, celesta, 2 percussion and 2 double basses. Later when Sutherland meets the apparently-innocent young girl out at her parents in the country I introduced a string orchestra. The composed music added up to about 20 minutes in all. I have no idea whether Claude Chabrol ever heard it. If he did I hope he wasn't too upset since I was a great fan of his films from 'Le Beau Serge' and 'Les Cousins' onwards.'


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
5th April 1978 The National Philharmonic Orchestra, CTS April 5th 1978, engineer John Richards, Recording at CTS Studios Wembley


Howard Blake's music score has an emotional sting to its cues that simply linger, and director Claude Chabrol's capable handling (well for most part) has a strong stylistic and tight manner

lost-in-limbo, imdb.com, 30/9/2007

The music score used in the English version (the dubbed French version has a completely different soundtrack) is great, bouncy in bits and almost always adding to the action. Chabrol also sets up some great shots, and there are a few chilling moments to be had

sol, imdb.com, 4/10/2005

Related Autobiography Chapters

baritone & harpsichord: 'TOCCATA OF GALUPPI'S', FLUTE CONCERTINO (1978)

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