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Richard Blackford’s ‘Kalon’ reviewed by The Times

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Richard Blackford’s ‘Kalon’ reviewed by The Times

Congratulations to Richard Blackford, one of The Bach Choir’s external trustees, on having his latest work Kalon reviewed in The Times today following a performance at the Cheltenham Festival. The Bach Choir is delighted to have someone with Richard’s considerable experience working with them behind the scenes.

Here is an extract from the review…

This is emotionally sincere and intellectually intriguing work from one of the liveliest musical minds around…

★★★★☆
Forty years ago the composer Richard Blackford, then in his early twenties, made a big impression with the community opera Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Since then he has drifted in and out of media attention, but his latest work, Kalon (a Greek word meaning physical and spiritual beauty), reminds us that his is one of the liveliest musical minds around.

Like Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro, which preceded it in this Cheltenham Festival concert by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Martyn Brabbins, Kalon is scored for string quartet surrounded by string orchestra. Blackford, however, differentiates the quartet from the main body by writing much of the music in two different, unrelated metres for the two groups.

Were he a more avant-garde-minded composer, that wouldn’t be too difficult, since a chaos of clashing harmonies could be passed off as part of the fun. Blackford’s style though, is rooted in modality and tonality, so it’s fascinating to see how skilfully he reconciles these conflicting metrical materials within a unified harmonic framework…Blackford’s new work strikes me as emotionally sincere and intellectually intruiging. I hope it is played often.

(Richard Morrison)