One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Plain text for phones
and Printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this disc through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid World-wide.

Richard BLACKFORD (b. 1954)
Mirror of Perfection (1996)1 [36.28]
A Westminster Te Deum (2010)2 [9.52]
On anotherís sorrow (2005)3 [5.14]
I know that my Redeemer liveth (2007)4 [3.22]
From The Song of Songs (1985)5 [3.55]
A lullaby of the Nativity (2006)6 [3.57]
I will sing unto the Lord (2009)7 [3.53]
1Ying Huang (soprano), Bo Skovhus (baritone); 5Olivia Robinson (soprano), 2-4, 6, 7BBC Singers, 2, 5-7Iain Farrington (organ), 2-7David Hill (cond)
Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Ballard Lane Preparatory School Choir
Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Richard Blackford
1rec. Winter Gardens, Bournemouth, 16-18 August and 25-27 August 1997 2-7rec. St Paulís Church, Knightsbridge, London, 22 February 2012

Experience Classicsonline


This issue combines a reissue of the Sony recording (SK60285) of Mirror of Perfection with some new recordings of various choral anthems by Richard Blackford, but it seems that something has gone bizarrely wrong with the booklet presentation. It looks as though a couple of pages have been omitted between pages 11 and 12, with the result that the text and translation of the Te Deum is missing together with any information on the works other than Mirror of Perfection. It is obvious that the choral anthems, scored for different forces and in different styles, were written at different times, but it was only after considerable research on the internet that I was able to confirm this and supply the dates given in this review. (see footnote)
Mirror of Perfection is a response to texts by St Francis of Assisi, some of which (notably Canticle of Love III) are surprisingly erotic in content. The scoring, for string orchestra plus horns and timpani, is sometimes reminiscent of Bliss in his Pastoral, and the richly expressive music sometimes reminds one of Bliss as well. The main problem with the work arises from the use of Italian texts - except oddly for the Canticle of the birds, which uses as French translation of a Latin original. This keeps the meaning of the text at one remove from the listener and produces at times what seems like a rather mechanical response to the words, almost like Carl Orff. The best musical passages come in the extended orchestral interlude during the Canticle of the birds and the superlatively cumulative meditation which forms the final Canticle of Peace. The main recurring theme of the Canticle of the Furnace brings an unconscious echo of the third of Mahlerís Wayfarer Songs. There are many touching moments throughout, and Ying Huang and Bo Skovhus sing with passion and feeling, but at the end one is left feeling warmed but slightly unsatisfied.
The choral anthems begin with the Westminster Te Deum and end with the Psalm setting I will sing unto the Lord, the two most recent works here, both scored for chorus with rumbustious organ parts that at times evoke the spirit of Walton. The short unaccompanied anthems On anotherís sorrow (to a text by William Blake) and I know that my Redeemer liveth are both little gems, but the setting of texts from A song of songs does not match the beautiful treatment of similar words by Jonathan Dove which I reviewed earlier this year (review). The setting of A lullaby of the Nativity, on the other hand, is marvellous. Holst famously set the same text, and Richard Blackford here correctly echoes his rhythmic freedom in the treatment of the anonymous fifteenth century words Ė but his addition of an organ accompaniment and the way he rises to the words ďAngels bright they sang that nightĒ are something else again. This is a piece that deserves to be performed often.
The performances throughout are excellent, and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta provide a rich accompaniment in Mirror of Perfection. The childrenís choir sound a bit recessed in the sound picture, but otherwise the sound is fine; and the later recordings by the BBC Singers have plenty of character and atmosphere.
Paul Corfield Godfrey

See also review by John Quinn

Nimbus were approached about the booklet. They replied that the decision not to include the text of the Te Deum was taken by Richard Blackford who thought it was unnecessary. Also Richard Blackford felt he did not have any thing additional to say or point out about the anthems.

Support us financially by purchasing this disc through MusicWeb
for £12 postage paid World-wide.



































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.