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Open Workshop


to an Open Workshop Day of

Blackford Mirror of Perfection

Valentine Singers are holding an open workshop on Saturday 28th April and would like to invite interested singers and listeners to share the day with us and explore this beautiful work.

Saturday 28th April 2012 10.30am - 4.30pm
10am Registration and coffee

Barnardo’s Church, Tanners Lane,
Barkingside IG6 1QG
A few minutes walk from Barkingside Station, Central Line

Conductor: Christine Gwynn   Accompanist: Tim Smith

Download application form

Richard Blackford
A cantata for soli, chorus and orchestra
with text by St Francis of Assisi

Valentine Singers first performed Mirror of Perfection in 2002 in the presence of composer Richard Blackford who described the performance as “a passionate and totally committed rendition, with excellent choral singing and some stunning orchestral playing”

The cantata made a tremendous impression on the audience who found it both moving and uplifting.  The choir had really come to love the work and it is with great delight and excitement that we look forward to singing it again this summer.  Challenging in various ways, the work is also very rewarding to sing, hugely imaginative and full of glorious colours and textures.

Mirror of Perfection was first published in 1996. Composer Richard Blackford wrote: 'The words are settings of almost unknown poems by St Francis of Assisi and cover a wide expressive and emotional range: from hope to despair, longing to acceptance, love to bitterness, delight in Creation to an impassioned plea for peace amongst mankind. The cantata is no pious word-setting of an ancient saint – rather it is a passionate and vibrant evocation of a man who remains a symbol of hope in an age of spiritual emptiness and cultural decline. Francis of Assisi remains for me a beacon of spiritual light in our technological, ego-based, twentieth century and suggests that perhaps it is through poetry, music and the celebration of life in all its beauty and horror that we can find redemption as we face the new millennium

Mirror of Perfection was commissioned by the Royal Ballet School and first performed at the Royal College of Music in March 1996. Ronald Corp immediately recognised it as a work that could become standard choral repertory and conducted a performance shortly afterwards at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Choral Society and the New London Orchestra. The work’s success came to the attention of Sony Classical who subsequently recorded it with the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Bournemouth Sinfonietta, with soloists Ying Huang and Bo Skovhus. The Sony recording was featured in its entirety in the BBC2 film Seven Canticles of St. Francis, narrated by Jeremy Irons, shown on Easter Sunday 1999. The Bournemouth Symphony Chorus have since performed Mirror of Perfection on their tour of Israel, their Italian tour in 2000 and at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.

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