Monday, 12 September 2011

"Not in our time"

Composer Richard Blackford's ambitious and impressive work of this title was premiered last night to great applause. It made up the second half of a Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra concert - an add-on to this Summer's Cheltenham Music Festival. In the first half, works by Copeland and Barber, and narrator Simon Callow, set the sombre scene for this 9/11 tenth anniversary: his was just the right timbre of voice for a grave message - in essence that, following our disastrous response to 9/11, we must work harder for peace.

Caroline felt "Not in our time" was rather too uniformly loud and hectic (the choruses were terrific); but I admired its urgency and compassion. The twin towers were echoed by two male soloists, two choirs, two Latin hymns, each also sung in translation and two time scales (the 11th and 21st Centuries). It's a seriously clever piece, and my only concern is that its effectivenes may be found to depend on its timeliness for this particular occasion.

You can just make out, in the centre left of my photograph, a percussionist with the most wonderful billiard ball head.

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