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Not In Our Time is Richard Blackford’s powerful response to 9/11. It’s a glorious choral work following in the great tradition of British choral writing with a wide, descriptive dynamic range; terrifying declamations are relieved by thought-provoking passages. The inspiration for the work is Hilda Doolittle’s poem Not in our time, O Lord, the ploughshare for the sword, which reappears at intervals. Starting with Bush’s catastrophic ‘crusade’ speech and ending with Obama’s plea for reconciliation, the Christian and Muslim texts date from the time of the First Crusades to the present day. The tenor declaims for the Christians while the baritone sings the Muslim texts; the chorus has a multifaceted role not least as the voice of the people. Blackford demands much of his performers but such is the writing that the response is exhilarating.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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