Richard Blackford: Not In Our Time
Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Paul Nilon (tenor), Stephen Gadd (baritone)
The opening "Prelude", rising from lone cello to orchestral cacophony, is suitably Messiaen-ic, while elsewhere the choral textures have a vibrancy and dark energy reminiscent of Carmina Burana. A partial resolution of sorts is symbolised by Obama's inspirational peacemaker speech.
Andy Gill, The Independent, 11/18/2011
Blackford's music is gesturally direct, aiming for visceral impact in the scrunching orchestral discord that represents the moment the Twin Towers collapsed; and jabbing, truculent vocal lines are given both to Bush’s ‘new kind of evil’ speech, and the militant Arab reaction broadcast on Al Jazeera.
Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine, 3/1/2012
Blackford's third major choral and orchestral work will, I feel sure, be quickly added to that illustrious lineage of pacifist works such as Bliss's 'Morning Heroes', Vaughan Williams's 'Dona nobis pacem' and Michael Berkeley's 'Or Shall We Die'. [...]
Blackford fearlessly juxtaposes 21st-century texts (George W Bush's 'War on Terror' battle cry and Barack Obama's hope for the future through mutual understanding) with 11th-century crusading clamourings for holy war as well as a description of an anonymous 'jumper' from the World Trade Center.
As one might expect from a composer so steeped in music for the theatre, this piece has a strongly filmic feel, with shades of Herrman, Shostakovich and Walton.
Malcolm Riley, gramophone.co.uk, 5/1/2012
... an impressive oratorio which courageously addresses the tensions that humans have allowed to arise in the 21st century between Christianity and Islam (though, of course, in neither faith do such tensions form part of their teachings)...
, Musical Opinion, 11/1/2012