David Bedford
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Two Poems By Kenneth Patchen (DG 137004)
Music For Albion Moonlight (1970), 5/10
Nurses Songs With Elephants (1972), 6/10
Star's End (1974), 6/10
Tentacles Of The Dark Nebula (1974), 5/10
The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (1975), 6/10
The Odyssey (1976), 6.5/10
Instructions For Angels (1977), 6/10
Star Clusters Nebulae & Places In Devon (1983), 5/10
Rigel 9 (1985), 5/10
Great Equatorial (1994), 6/10
Twelve Hours of Sunset (1998), 6/10
The Wind Music of David Bedford (1998), 6/10
My Mother My Sister and I (1999), 5/10
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David Bedford (1937) is a British composer who has pursued two parallel careers, one as an avantgarde composer in the vein of John Cage and one as a popular composer of epic-length melodic fantasies in the vein of Mike Oldfield.

A pupil of Lennox Berkeley at London's Royal Academy Of Music and of Luigi Nono in Venezia, Bedford began by writing music that mirrored the techniques of the 1960s. Two Poems for Chorus (1963) already displayed his love for the choir, while A Dream of the Seven Lost Stars (1965) first betrayed his passion for astronomy. Bedford's eccentric taste and sense of humour was evident in An Exciting New Game For Children Of All Ages, whose development depends on dice, and in With 100 Kazoos, a piece for audience playing a hundred toy kazoos. Music For Albion Moonlight (1970), a chamber work for soprano and septet composed in 1965, was the first one to be released on record.

The mini-album Garden of Love (Voiceprint, 1997) contains the 1970 piece for chamber ensemble and rock group (Kevin Ayers, Mike Oldfield, Robert Wyatt, David Bedford, Lol Coxhill) inspired by William Blake's poetry.

Nurses Songs With Elephants (Dandelion, 1972) collects the title-track, a minimalistic work for ten acoustic guitars, Trona (1967) and Some Bright Stars for Queen's College (1969), a composition for 80 college girls' voices and 27 plastic pipe twirlers.

His music for the opera From Marie Antoinette to the Beatles (1968) somehow introduced him to the world of rock music, and suddenly he was playing keyboards for Kevin Ayers.

A young member of that group, Mike Oldfield, invented a new form with his Tubular Bells, and Bedford decided to follow his example with Star's End (Virgin, 1974), a suite performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The main differences between him and Oldfield were that Bedford was educated at using orchestras and choirs, was more familiar with minimalism and other modern compositional techniques, and was more interested in cosmic themes than in folk themes.

In the meantime, Bedford continued composing avantgarde pieces such as Tentacles Of The Dark Nebula (Argo, 1974), composed in 1969; The Sword of Orion (1970); Some Stars Above Magnitude 2.9 (1971).

Star Clusters Nebulae And Places In Devon (Voiceprint, 1983) contains the title-track for choir and orchestra, composed in 1971, and also The Song Of The White Horse, composed in 1977 for the television. Twelve Hours of Sunset (NMC, 1998) contains the title-track for orchestra and chorus, composed in 1974, and also Alleluia Timpanis, Symphony No.1, and the Concerto for Recorder.

On the popular front, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (Virgin, 1975), scored for choir, keyboards, violin, percussions, and narrating voice, was a fresh and humble piece that dispensed with Star's End's grandeur. The Odyssey (Virgin, 1976), inspired by scenes of Homer's poem, was an instrumental tour de force. The longest and most impressive "panel" was The Sirens, that relied on one of his favorite tricks, the female choir. Almost as mesmerizing was Instructions For Angels (Virgin, 1977), a series of variations on a renaissance theme for keyboards, guitar and orchestra.

Back on the avantgarde front, Bedford wrote a children's opera trilogy, Fridiof's Saga (1980), based on Scandinavian legends; Ocean Star a Dreaming Song (1981); Of Stars Dreams and Cymbals (1982); the opera Rigel 9 (Charisma, 1985); An Island in the Moon (1986). Seascapes (1986) and Frameworks (1989) provide students of music with a "skeleton" to compose their own orchestral works. The Wind Music of David Bedford (Doyden, 1998) contains Praeludium, Sun Paints Rainbows on the Vast Waves, Canons and Cadenzas, Sea and Sky and Golden Hill (1985), Ronde for Isolde (1985).

Bedford also began writing film scores: The Killing Fields (1984), Absolute Beginners, etc

David Bedford's electronic keyboards painted one last cosmic fresco on Great Equatorial (Voiceprint, 1994).

The 1990s began with Stories from the Dreamtime (1991), for 40 deaf children and orchestra. Highlights of the decade were works for choir and strings such as A Charm of Grace (1995), A Charm of Joy (1996) A Charm of Blessings (1997).

His activity picked up speed in the second half of the decade with: Tiddalik the Frog for string trio (1997), Oh Eva Hear My Lament (1997), Inventress of the Vocal Frame (1997), Lift Up Your Heads (1997), String Quartet No. 2 (1998), At the Sign of the Crumhorn (1998), Requiem for brass band (1998), Oboe Concerto (1998), The Sultan's Turret for symphony orchestra (1999), the operas The Prostitutes' Padre (1998) and My Mother My Sister and I (ClassicPrinti, 1999).

Bedford died in october 2011 at the age of 74.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Gianluca Mantovan)

David Bedford e' un compositore britannico che ha svolto due carriere parallele, una da avanguardista alla John Cage e una tesa al pubblico per mezzo di lunghissime fantasie melodiche alla Mike Oldfield. Allievo di Lennox Berkeley alla London's Royal Academy Of Music e di Luigi Nono a Venezia, Bedford cominci• scrivendo musica che rifletteva le tecniche degli anni sessanta. Two Poems for Chorus (1963) mostrava fin da allora il suo amore per il coro. A Dream of the Seven Lost Stars (1965) tradiva per la prima volta la passione per l'astronomia. Il gusto eccentrico e l'umorismo di Bedford furono evidenti in An Exciting New Game For Children Of All Ages, basata sul gioco dei dadi, e in With 100 Kazoos, piece per pubblico in cui si suonano cento giocattoli kazoos. Music For Albion Moonlight (1970), lavoro da camera per soprano e settetto composto nel 1965, fu il primo ad essere pubblicato su disco. Il mini-album Garden of Love (Voiceprint, 1997) contiene la piece del 1970 per ensemble da camera e gruppo rock (Kevin Ayers, Mike Oldfield, Robert Wyatt, David Bedford, Lol Coxhill) ispirata alla poesia di William Blake. Nurses Songs With Elephants (Dandelion, 1972) raccoglie la title-track, lavoro minimale con dieci chitarre acustiche, Trona (1967) e Some Bright Stars for Queen's College (1969), una composizione con 80 voci di ragazze collegiali e 27 tubi a mulinello di plastica. La musica per l'opera From Marie Antoinette to the Beatles (1968) segn• il primo passaggio al rock e ne propizi• l'ingaggio in qualit… di tastierista di Kevin Ayers. Un giovane membro di quel gruppo, Mike Oldfield, invento' una nuova forma espressiva con Tubular Bells, e Bedford decise di seguirne l'esempio con Star's End (Virgin, 1974), suite eseguita dalla Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Bedford e Oldfield differivano perche' il primo era solito usare orchestre e cori mentre il secondo aveva dimestichezza con minimalismo e altre moderne tecniche di composizione, oltre ad avere piu' interesse per temi cosmici e poi folk. Nel frattempo, Bedford continuo' a comporre piece d'avanguardia come Tentacles Of The Dark Nebula (Argo, 1974), composta nel 1969; The Sword of Orion (1970); Some Stars Above Magnitude 2.9 (1971). Star Clusters Nebulae And Places In Devon (Voiceprint, 1983) contiene la title-track per coro e orchestra, composta nel 1971, e anche The Song Of The White Horse, composta nel 1977 per la televisione. Twelve Hours of Sunset (NMC, 1998) contiene la title-track per orchestra e cori, composta nel 1974, e anche Alleluia Timpanis, Symphony No.1, e il Concerto for Recorder. Sul fronte popolare, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (Virgin, 1975), con coro, tastiere, violino, percussioni e voce narrante, fu una piece fresca ed umile con Star's End's grandeur. The Odyssey (Virgin, 1976), ispirata in parte al poema omerico, fu un tour de force strumentale. Il settore piu' lungo ed impressionante fu The Sirens, basato sull'usuale e a lui gradito coro femminile. Quasi altrettanto incantevole fu Instructions For Angels (Virgin, 1977), una serie di variazioni su un tema rinascimentale con tastiere, chitarra e orchestra. Tornando all'avanguardia, Bedford scrisse una trilogia di opere per bambini, Fridiof's Saga (1980), basata su leggende scandinave; Ocean Star a Dreaming Song (1981); Of Stars Dreams and Cymbals (1982); l'opera Rigel 9 (Charisma, 1985); An Island in the Moon (1986). Seascapes (1986) e Frameworks (1989) forniscono agli studenti di musica una "struttura" per la composizione dei propri lavori orchestrali. The Wind Music of David Bedford (Doyden, 1998) contiene Praeludium, Sun Paints Rainbows on the Vast Waves, Canons and Cadenzas, Sea and Sky and Golden Hill (1985), Ronde for Isolde (1985). Bedford si dedico inoltre alla creazione di colonne sonore di film: The Killing Fields (1984), Absolute Beginners, etc Le sue tastiere elettroniche dipinsero un tardo affresco cosmico su Great Equatorial (Voiceprint, 1994). I novanta iniziarono con Stories from the Dreamtime (1991), con 40 bimbi sordi e orchestra. Punti fermi del decennio furono lavori con coro e archi come A Charm of Grace (1995), A Charm of Joy (1996), A Charm of Blessings (1997). La sua attivit… aumento nella seconda met… del decennio con: Tiddalik the Frog for string trio (1997), Oh Eva Hear My Lament (1997), Inventress of the Vocal Frame (1997), Lift Up Your Heads (1997), String Quartet No. 2 (1998), At the Sign of the Crumhorn (1998), Requiem for brass band (1998), Oboe Concerto (1998), The Sultan's Turret for symphony orchestra (1999), le opere The Prostitutes' Padre (1998) e My Mother My Sister and I (ClassicPrinti, 1999).

Bedford e` morto nel 2011.

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