I wrote this song in The Mayflower Hotel, New York City in July, 1982.
I was in NYC having (as a candidate composer) been chosen above Marvin Hamlisch – to write the score for the movie The Royal Romance, after handing in my back-stage trunk with the “Tullettes” in 1980 to return to my erstwhile profession of ‘hired gun’ in the world of studio music-writing and conducting.
(The subject of the film was the courtship and subsequent marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer; the film was produced in the USA by CBS.)
The researchers on the film unit provided me with sufficient information on Diana’s childhood and adolescence for me to write a couple of songs reflecting those circumstances, of which I chose to use one as the ‘Main Theme Song’ and as part of the development of the underscore, I reserved the other song The Still Point as a kind of ‘Diana’s Theme’. Much the same, I suppose, as ‘Lara’s Theme’ was employed by Maurice Jarre in his score for Doctor Zhivago.
A still from the film ‘The Royal Romance’ 1982
The score was recorded in Studio One of the famous Abbey Road Studios in London in just one day. There were four extended sessions with the full London Symphony Orchestra.
Talk about ‘The Longest Day’!
It was tough going and I’ll be eternally grateful to the celebrated principal trumpet of the LSO – Maurice Murphy – who steered me around the potential pitfalls I’d created in using fashionable – NOT – different time signatures in almost every bar of a fanfare.
Maurice is of course the famous trumpeter on the Star Wars Theme Music written by John Williams. This cue, featuring solo Trumpet is the music underscoring Diana’s move from her flat and job at the nursery school (note the Oranges and Lemons quote) to taking up residence at Clarence House with the Queen Mum.
RIP Maurice. Bless you and thanks!
You can listen to my fanfare based on ‘Diana’s Theme’ played by Maurice by clicking on the arrow of this audio player:
Maurice Murphy with John Williams taken in Abbey Road studio 1
Ironically, the score was recorded fifteen years before the day when Princess Diana died, and, following the tragic news of her death (on August 31st, 1997) I made an attempt to alert my publishers to the existence of the song, with a view to them offering it to be considered for use in the funeral service; regrettably, they proved to be startlingly inept. The fact that neither they nor I knew who was arranging the music for the funeral didn’t help much either.
I did find out – but it was far too late!
The music for the service had been chosen by Martin Neary (Master of Choristers at Westminster Abbey) and Sir Curtis Price (the Principal of The Royal Academy of Music) of which Princess Diana was Patron and where I was (and still am) one of the only (ever at one time) three hundred Fellows!
Shortly after that September day – when the world stood by in shocked disbelief, I sent a tape of the song to Curtis Price. His words of response (on hearing the song) still ring in my ears:
“Why didn’t you inform us of the existence of this song before now”? The words! You wrote them; they are so uncannily accurate. And the lake at Althorp. The time she spent there, alone as a child. How could you have known? Had we known that it existed, then you would have been invited to perform this song in the Abbey on September 6th.”
Ah well…… C’est la vie…………. but now, at last, it gets to make its debut on my album Through Darkened Glass.
Here’s the first verse – see what you make of it:
(click on the audio player below to listen)
December 13th 2017
At the still point of the turning world
The lake lies calm, blue and still
Touch the chill in the vibrant air