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The Howard Blake thread


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My search didn't come up with any thread for this composer.

I admit I know only his quite good work in the animation short The Snowman.


Right now, I'm listening to his unused score for Flash Gordon!

Wow, this is a very good score and a real feat to complete in 10 days!



Composer's note: 'I was brought in in a crisis situation when it was found that the composer nominated by 'Queen' had for some reason been unable to complete 'more than one minute' of a score for the film. I was summoned to a meeting at CTS Wembley by sound recordist John Richards and Brendan Cahill head of music for Universal Studios Hollywood. The RPO had been booked for two weeks and started recording the day before but had nothing else to play. I said it would take at least 4 weeks to write the amount of music required, possibly 90 minutes. After ferocious negotiations with my agent Liz Keys at London Management I began work, but the time gradually whittled down to 10 days and the last 4 days of that I didn't sleep. An added complication was to include various guitar phrases and the song 'Flash' within my large-scale score for 80-piece orchestra. Somehow I finished it and conducted the 3 days of recording sessions, but afterwards I went back to my house in Mortlake and collapsed exhausted. My wife had left the house with the 2 children at the end of my first writing day, bothered by endless phone calls and courier bikes. She returned on the Saturday expecting me to have left for France on the Thursday. In fact I had been asleep for 3 days. She called a doctor who injected me with something to wake me up. He said it was possible I would never have woken up at all, since I was suffering from chronic bronchitis due to total exhaustion! Anyway I recovered and I and everybody else were pleased with the score. Dubbing sessions began and I later discovered that much of my score had been replaced with synthesized music, myself having demonstrated how to handle it. A disappointment.

However, my relations with the members of Queen were always cordial. Brian May came over one day and hummed an idea for an 'overture'. As he did so I jotted it down on some manuscript paper and then played it back on the piano, which really startled him. They all came along to the orchestral recordings and seemed fascinated. I remember Freddie Mercury singing the idea of 'Ride to Arboria' in his high falsetto and I showed him how I could expand it into the orchestral section now on the film, with which he seemed very pleased. Whilst scoring I had cassettes of guitar ideas from Brian, in particular the slow 'falling-chord' sequence. I wrote this out into my score at one point and surrounded it with big orchestral colour. When I came to the recording I had Brian's solo guitar on headphones and conducted the orchestra in synch. around it. Many months later Brian came over and we listened to the finished album.'



The whole score is posted in youtube. Apparently it comes from the composer's promo.



I think it should definitely get an official release.

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Actually, quite a bit of his score was used in the film, so it's not really right to call it unused.  It really somehow meshes quite seamlessly with the Queen stuff, especially in "The Kiss" which is a theme for Princess Aura.


This is a cracking good score that doesn't get enough love, if only because the Queen stuff is so powerful.

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