The Snowman is coming to Watford Colosseum

PUBLISHED: 10:46 10 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:46 10 December 2018

Raymond Briggs story and illustrations for The Snowman have charmed generations (photo: Snowman Enterprises Ltd)

Raymond Briggs story and illustrations for The Snowman have charmed generations (photo: Snowman Enterprises Ltd)

Snowman Enterprises Ltd

Rosemary Taylor, principal clarinet in the Orpheus Sinfonia, gives an insight into performing the music to a Christmas classic on its 40th anniversary

I remember that winter because it had brought the heaviest snow I had ever seen. Snow had fallen steadily all night long and in the morning I woke in a room filled with light and silence, the whole world seemed to be held in a dream-like stillness. It was a magical day... and it was on that day I made the Snowman.

One winter’s day, a boy builds a snowman who comes to life at the stroke of midnight, and a remarkable adventure begins. The Snowman started out as a book with the story told purely in illustrations by Raymond Briggs. But it was its adaptation into an animated film with music by Howard Blake that brought the magic to audiences young and old across the world.

I remember being utterly captivated by The Snowman from the moment I first saw it. Christmas was not Christmas without it, and it still isn’t today. It was pure magic the way the tale came to life and told itself through pictures and music – not one word necessary, except lyrics for the song Walking in the Air.

The power of the music to not only tell the tale, but to make you experience the joy, the excitement, the exhilaration, the anticipation, the dancing, the whoosh of flying and walking in the air was not something I had experienced before, and was a complete inspiration and revelation to me.

Now 20 years on, to be actually playing that myself, is something I didn’t ever think was possible before I began to understand the world of music The Snowman introduced me to. To bring that amazement to life for our audiences and give them that inspiration is very special.

At Orpheus Sinfonia we have had the pleasure of meeting Howard Blake and working with him on some of his other music as well as The Snowman. He knew from the start that it should be a film without dialogue, with just music, and it was he who convinced the producer John Coates of that. Howard’s ability to draw and talk through music is quite remarkable, but also intriguing is how these tunes started out – the story of Walking in the Air is not what you might expect. He recalls how the tune came to him, a long way from a snowy South Downs:

‘When I was on the beach, doing my meditation and trying to stand on my head, this tune came into my head, a tune of perfect innocence. It was the tune to Walking in the Air, but I didn’t know it then.’

The secret of how it all works – the music, the instruments, how the sounds are made and how that becomes music, what an orchestra is, how it all fits together and makes such a wonderful thing – is something we shall open the doors to in our introduction at Watford Colosseum, with an opportunity to meet the musicians themselves.

Then it’s an immersive, magical journey as we perform the score live to the film. Celebrating 40 years of it’s publication, this BAFTA winning classic is an ageless cinematic gem. We will bring the magic to life, because Christmas isn’t Christmas without The Snowman!

Orpheus Sinfonia will perform The Snowman at Watford Colosseum on December 17.

See for ticket details.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is published by Puffin.

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