WALTON, Sir William (1902-1983). Autograph music manuscript from his score for the film Henry V, [1943-44], part of the Agincourt sequence, entitled in a later hand 'Suite No 3. Charge & Battle', annotated by Walton 'No 147 A[B and C]', and 'Reel 12 (134½ ft.)' and 'Reel 12 (cont) 98ft', 147A sketched in outline in three lines on f.1, 147B and C in full score, timings and detailed cues to screen action marked (e.g. '57½ secs F[rench] galloping') on a separate line, altogether 17 pages, folio (482 x 318mm), (wide staining to pp.7-9, but without loss of text; a few paperclip stains), in two gatherings, gathered with old adhesive tape, in a red calf backed slip case. Provenance: presumably the score used by Muir Mathieson to conduct the recording for the film, and apparently drawn upon by him for his Suite from 'Henry V' (1964); Oxfam charity auction, Christie's, 17 November 1964, lot 138, £40; Halsted B. Vander Poel.
THE CLIMAX OF ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL OF ALL FILM SCORES
Walton scored Henry V for full orchestra, including tabor and harpsichord, and voices, and made considerable use of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and 15th and 16th-century songs to produce a 'period' impression. The Agincourt sequence itself is structured upon a series of variations on the 15th-century song 'Reveillez-vous, Picars' (Walton remembered this being suggested to him by Vaughan Williams, who had already used it to similar purpose in his 1933 'Henry V' band suite).
Henry V was the first of Walton's three collaborations with Laurence Olivier on Shakespeare films: it was followed by Richard III and Hamlet. The close relationship between music and action in the film was inspired by Eisenstein's collaboration with Prokofiev on Alexander Nevsky (1938), and makes a considerable contribution to the success of the film, as Olivier acknowledged ('for me, the music actually made the film. The charge scene is really made by William's music'). This close interaction -- indicated by the detailed cues in the present manuscript -- was not achieved without a struggle: it had originally been intended to cut the music to fit the action, but at a late stage Walton was asked to fit his already composed music to the finished film.
The annotation 'Suite No 3 Charge and Battle' presumably relates to the Suite from 'Henry V' prepared by Muir Mathieson, Oxford University Press (1964), including the 'Charge and Battle' as no. III.
The only other fragments of Walton's Henry V autograph to have been traced are in the Koch Collection at Yale (Stuart Craggs, William Walton: A Catalogue (1990), and William Walton: A Source Book (1993)).