*A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY op.374 (November 1986)

Score for the Channel 4 feature film starring Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth, directed by Pat O'Connor, produced by Ken Trodd. BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE ANTHONY ASQUITH AWARD FOR MUSICAL EXCELLENCE
Published by: Highbridge Music Ltd
Commissioned by: Pat O'Connor on behalf of Channel 4/Euston Films
Instrumentation: String orchestra (vn,vn,va,vc,cb)
[Key to Abbreviations]
Duration: 18 mins
First Performance: Recorded CTS Studios Nov 1986 The Sinfonia of London conducted by Howard Blake. Sound engineer Dick Lewzey.
Sheet Music Available
Recordings Available
Violin Concerto "The Leeds", A Month In The Country, Sinfonietta
Released: 1994
Recorded: 1994
Artists: Christine Edinger (violin), Paul Daniel (conductor), English Northern Philharmonia
Available from: ASV Records ASV Records

Howard Blake's composed score is available as 'Suite:A Month in the Country' conducted by Paul Daniel with the strings of the English Northern Philharmonia in a recording issued by ASV, CD DCA 905 principally featuring Violin Concerto (''The Leeds'').  Video AND DVD of the complete film also available.


Film starring Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth, directed by Pat O'Connor, produced by Ken Trodd.
First shown on TV April 19 1990 Thames, Cinema release 1987.

Composer's note: 'Director Pat O'Connor showed me the film in the final stages of editing. Some recordings of classical music had been added- an excerpt from Verdi's 'Quattro Pezzi Sacri' was used during the uncovering of the mediaeval mural and the flashback montage of the First World War which opened the film used an excerpt from Schubert's Mass in E flat with large chorus and orchestra.This worked powerfully and I decided that the score should not compete but contrast with it by being scored 'purely' for string orchestra only. In the viewing room, running on a Steenbeck (possibly set at at 25 fps rather than 24) I heard the Mass excerpt as in E major and didn't recognise it. I created my score in that key in order to take over seamlessly, but when we reached Abbey Road and tried to match pitch with the existing track it sounded slightly flat and my leader said 'It's not in E, it's in E flat at a sharp Viennese pitch - it is in fact the Schubert E flat mass' To solve this I asked the players to tune down about a quarter tone down and this worked perfectly!'


6th October 2018 Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth. Euston Films, director Pat O'Connor, London Live TV

Score for string orchestra only composed and conducted by Howard Blake

23rd June 2018 Charterhouse orchestra, Charterhouse School, Godalming 6.30pm

A celebration of the works of J.L.Carr, author of the book 'A Month in the Country'0374

Honoured guest Howard Blake as composer of the score for the film starring Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh

21st April 2015 Paul Daniel conducting The Northern Philarmonia, The Suite for String Orchestra presented on KUSC by Jim Svejda (The Evening Programme)
21st August 2014
- 21st August 2016
Four recently-published books have included biographical/critical articles on Howard Blake,

1. DREAM REPAiRMAN - a biography by Howard's close friend and top film editor Jim Clark which mentions the ill-fated score for the Dustin Hoffman film 'Agatha' on which they worked.

Jim Clark, LandMarc Press (UK)

 2. BATHED IN LIGHTNING - a book about Sixties music-session men which concentrates on the great guitarist John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu) but mentions a great many others including Howard who worked with John at that time

Colin Harper, Outline Press (UK)

 3. THE ENCYCYCLOPAEDIA OF FILM COMPOSERS - a tome that tries to detail all of the well-known film composers since the start of cinema including a feature on Howard Blake.

Thoms S. Hischak, Rowman and Littlefield (USA)

 4. ENCOUNTERS WITH BRITISH COMPOSERS - Well-written articles about contemporary composers drawn directly from live interviews, including a lively one with Howard

Andrew Palmer The Boydell Press (UK)



18th September 2005 Thirteen Strings, Grant Cooper, St Andrews Church Ottawa

Related Works

'SUITE:A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY' op.446 (June 1992) (Audio Sample Available)
A concert work for string orchestra adapted from the film score

Related Autobiography Chapters

Move to Brighton (1944)
'GRANPA',Prix Jeunesse:'Honeybee and the Thistle' for Prince Andrew & Fergie (1986)

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