Howard Blake Benedictus
The Benedictine Order has today spread far from its sixth-century origin on Monte Cassino; and among its present monasteries is that of Worth Abbey in Sussex. Living nearby in the 1970s Howard Blake wrote some music for the Abbey, and became fascinated by the contribution of the Abbey's acoustics to that music. Now comes further music of larger scope, using St Benedict, the Psalms, Francis Thompson and the composer's own words for collective text. And the resulting music turns out to be ideally suited to its purpose: those parents whose children's affection for The Snowman has persuaded them to swear that Blake's music must for sanity's sake never darken their doors again should consider recantation!
If they do they will find greatly different music; though equally skilled, equally suitable for its particular subject. That is, in the present case, moving, devotional, beautiful. The music is also expounded beautifully by the performers concerned: solo tenor, solo viola, chorus, and orchestra. Further, it is very well recorded.
Is the record in line, then, for the warmest possible of recommendations, for the final accolade? No, it is not, for one reason only: the type in the accompanying booklet is so absurdly small that it is well nigh impossible to read.'