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Faure : Requiem, Blackford : Mirror of Perfection
Cadogan Hall
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Faure : Requiem, Blackford : Mirror of Perfection

Saturday, 09 March 2024, 19:30 - 22:00
Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ

Fauré's reasons for composing the work are unclear, but do not appear to have had anything to do with the death of his parents in the mid-1880s. By the time of his mother's death, he had already begun the work, about which he later declared, "My Requiem wasn't written for anything – for pleasure, if I may call it that!" He is also quoted as saying "Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest." Its sheer beauty lies in its simplicity, It does not command enormous orchestral resources, which is why it is one of the most performed and accessible requiem works of the choral repertoire.

Although Richard Blackford (b.1954) is perhaps not widely known amongst amateur choral singers, he 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 his feature film credits include City of Joy, Prometheus and Song for a Raggy Boy.   As well as many UK TV credits, he is also the most performed media composer in Germany, having over one hundred and forty drama feature credits to his name for the channel ZDF alone.  November 2023's concert was Verdi's Requiem and the first public concert performance of the new Blackford orchestral arrangement.

St Francis of Assisi.  Photo : CNS/Gregory ShemitzMirror of Perfection is the title of a biography of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), written by one of his companions, Brother Leo of Assisi, shortly after the saint’s death.  The texts selected by the composer are seven poems by St. Francis which are sung in Italian with the exception of the fifth poem, ‘Canticle of the Birds’, for which a nineteenth-century French translation is used.   The work was commissioned by the Royal Ballet School, where Blackford was Director of Music 1990-95, and first performed in 1996 at the Royal College of Music.

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