Blake, Howard: Walking in the Air (from ‘The Snowman’)


Blake’s beautiful Christmas staple – ‘Walking in the Air’ – from the 1982 animated film of Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Snowman’ – here arranged for wind quintet.

  • Instruments : Fl. Ob. Cl.(in Bb) Hn. Bsn.
  • Difficulty : C – approx. ABRSM Grade 5
  • Duration : 3’45”
  • ISMN : 979-0-708141-54-9
  • Portus Press reference : PPQ86


Walking in the Air  was written by English composer, Howard Blake (1938-), for the 1982 animated film of Raymond Briggs’ 1978 children’s book The Snowman. The enchanting story of a boy and a snowman who comes alive, is a firmly established Christmas classic.

Incredibly, the idea for this beautiful song’s melody came to Blake when he was in the depths of despair.  Following his big break in 1968 when he was asked to compose incidental music for the cult TV series The Avengers, he was very much in demand.  However, amidst the work pressures and noisy London life he found it increasingly difficult to compose.  Seeking peace and solitude he decamped to a tiny Cornish fishing village.  Here, he began to write music again and, one cold February day, as he walked on a deserted beach, six notes came into his head.

Some 11 years later Blake met film producer John Coates, who needed a score for the new animated film he was working on – The Snowman.  Blake knew that he had finally found a home for his melody.  The inspiration for the lyrics came to him one day, he said, ‘as I stepped from the doorstep onto the pavement, and then from the pavement down onto the road, I suddenly thought about stepping into the air… walking in the air.”

In the film, the song was performed by St Paul’s Cathedral choirboy Peter Auty.  In 1985, an altered version was recorded for use in a Toys R Us TV advert. As Auty’s voice had then broken, Blake recommended the Welsh chorister Aled Jones (who he had heard on the BBC’s Songs of Praise).  That recording reached number five in the UK pop charts and launched Aled’s career.

Score Preview


For copyright reasons this title is only available in printed sheet music format.  


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