Original score by Patrick Gowers salvaged from a dumpster

Last week, the writer and journalist Peer Kaae, a friend of mine whose office is close to my studio, told me that there was some sheet music lying in a dumpster nearby. He had only had the chance to take a passing look but also mentioned that it looked like it was hand written. That sparked my interest and I suggested we should go and salvage the sheet music from the dumpster. We did. And out they came; sheet after sheet, full score page after full score page (more than 70 score pages)… all handwritten, except for some of the duplicate parts that had been copied. There were no indication of the composer or even the title of the work on the score. The orchestral parts all had “The Windmills” stamped on them, and nothing else (aside from the music of course).

A mystery score…

I did not recognise the music, but it was clearly the work of a skilled professional composer. Being that the dumpster (and my studio) is part of a major “film city” where movies have been produced since the 1930s, and from reading the score, I concluded it had to be a film score, but from which film? and composed by whom? A search for “The Windmills” did not come up with anything seemingly of relevance.

Today, writer and film editor Jørgen Kastrup also came by, and the three of us had a meeting about the mysterious score. With Jørgen’s extensive knowledge of film history, combined with Peer Kaae’s excellent research, we found out that the original English title of the Danish 1969 film “Balladen om Carl-Henning” was in fact “The Windmills”, though it was later changed to “Ballad of Carl-Henning”. With that information we found a clip on YouTube with the beginning of the film and could immediately confirm that it was indeed the music we had found!

So the mystery is solved. We found the original score and parts (almost all of it hand written and filled with notes and edits) used to record the original soundtrack to “Balladen om Carl-Henning” (Ballad of Carl-Henning), composed by none other than the great Patrick Gowers! One of my favorite film composers, who alas died two years ago. I assume that this is his own hand writing, but that must of course be confirmed later.

UPDATE: Patrick Gower’s grandson, Richard Gowers, have confirmed that “it looks very much like his [grandfather’s] handwriting”!

The score remains with me for the time being until it can be given to the Danish Film Museum.

Leave a Reply