News from Richard Blackford/Nimbus Alliance Records – “Mirror of Perfection/Six Choral Anthems” – Information for Press & Media
Artist(s): Richard Blackford/Soloists/Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra & Chorus BBC Singers/David Hill
Composer: Richard Blackford
Repertoire: Mirror of Perfection/Six Choral Anthems
Catalogue No NI6205 
Discs: Single CD/Standard Case
Price Point: Full Price (UK Dealer £8.70)
UK Release: 05th November 2012
Richard Blackford is one of the pre-eminent concert and media composers of the UK. His music has been performed and broadcast all over the world and has been featured in the Adelaide, Cork, Montepulciano, Brighton, Cheltenham, Long Island and Berlin Festivals. His feature film credits include City of Joy, Prometheus and Song for a Raggy Boy, the latter winning eleven international film festival awards. He is the most performed media composer in Germany, having over one hundred and forty drama feature credits to his name for ZDF alone. UK TV credits include the acclaimed BBC BAFTA-nominated drama Fingersmith, A Little Bit of Lippy, Summer Solstice, Ruth Rendell Mysteries, 1940s House, Family, Finding Sarah, Preston Front and Shell Seekers, starring Vanessa Redgrave. In 2008 Richard was appointed the first ever Composer in Association with the Brno Philharmonic, who gave the world premiere of his Violin Concerto.
Both of his critically acclaimed choral works “Mirror of Perfection” and “Voices of Exile” were the subjects of television documentaries and have been frequently broadcast on Classic fM and BBC Radio 3. September 2011 saw the premiere of another major choral work “Not In Our Time”, commissioned for the Centenary of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, at the Cheltenham Music Festival. It was subsequently performed to great acclaim in Chicago in 2012. “Not In Our Time” was released via Nimbus Alliance (NI6161) in 2011.
‘Not In Our Time’ is perhaps closer to Tippett than to Britten – rooted in tonality whilst pushing at its boundaries when anger strikes – but both influences are palpably there, without the slightest hint of it being derivative. Invention is all – and there is invention aplenty. This is a paean of and to hope, a proclamation of shared humanity and, above all, a great oratorio for the peacemakers. This is a serious piece, but infinitely rewarding. Frankly, the more people who listen to it, the better, happier and more at peace with itself the world will be.” Michael McManus/Gramophone
Mirror of Perfection: Canticle of The Love Creatures; Canticle of Love I; Canticle of The Furnace; Canticle of Love II; Canticle of the Birds; Canticle of Love III; Canticle of Peace
Six Choral Anthems: A Westminster Te Deum; On Another’s Sorrow; I Know that my Redeemer Liveth; From The Song of Songs; A Lullaby of The nativity; I Will Sing To The Lord
“Mirror of Perfection” was commissioned by the Royal Ballet School and first performed in 1996. The words are settings of poems credited to St. Francis of Assisi and cover a wide and expressive emotional range. Featuring Yinh Huang (soprano), Bo Skovhus (baritone) with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Blackford himself and originally released on Sony Classics in 1999. “Mirror” was extensively featured on Classic fM. The original Gramophone review (amongst others) gave it excellent praise.
This work has been perfectly conceived for performances by amateur and semi-professional choral societies, and could even make a powerful impression on singers unfamiliar with Blackford’s sources……
Certainly Mirror of Perfection brings out the best in the two soloists, Ying Huang and Bo Skovhus. Ying Huang, who first came to prominence in the 1995 film version of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and later featured in Christmas in Vienna gives a deeply affecting performance of Canticle of Love II and is on particularly resplendent form in the final two movements. Bo Skovhus remains for me the outstanding baritone of his generation and stamps this recording, too, with the authority of his presence.
….as an introduction to Mirror of Perfection this performance is also unlikely ever to be equalled. MH
To supplement “Mirror of Perfection” the disc contains “Six Choral Anthems” which receive their first release here. Specially recorded by the BBC Singers, conducted by David Hill, and featuring Olivia Robinson (soprano) and Iain Farrington (organ), these pieces are sure to feature in the repertoire of Choirs and Choral Societies all over the globe this coming Christmas and beyond.
Indeed “A Lullaby of The Nativity” has been chosen by Chester/Novello as the lead Anthem in their choral collection “Noël! 3” – which is currently being promoted extensively to both the amateur and professional choral world.
“Mirror of Perfection” is performed regularly all over the world and is a firm favourite with Classic fM listeners. Indeed the next live UK performance (which incidentally will be attended by Richard Blackford) is at All Saints Church, Hertford on Saturday 10th November at 7.30pm, and performed by The Hertford Choral Society with soloists from the BBC Singers, and conducted by Derek Harrison.
The BBC Singers plan to include selections from the Six Choral Anthems in their December performance schedule, both on-air and in concerts.
Advertising & Promotion
The CD will be fully serviced to all UK classical music press and radio and key media overseas. Advertising will include major classical music magazines and publications including Gramophone, BBC Music, IRR and Choir & Organ. Richard Blackford is available for interview if required and this can be arranged promptly.
Please address requests for review copies and/or interview to email@example.com