Fascinating and Frustrating
James S. Eisenberg | 04/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"David Bedford is clearly a major musical talent, but is frustratingly changeable in style. He first studied composition with Sir Lennox Berkeley, getting a thorough training in neo-classical gestures. He then went to Venice where he spent two years with Luigi Nono learning serial and electronic techniques. His first published works clearly show Nono's influence. On his own, he gravitated toward the Polish "White Noise" school, and his best known works are in that style, glissando effects being the most noted stylistic feature. Via his work as an arranger for pop groups, as a school teacher and as a composer/arranger for film and television, he started moving back toward traditional tonality. His current serious output reflects both New Age and Minimalist tendencies.
Here is a first rate musician who has never really developed his own style. That said, there is much to admire here. ALLELUIA TIMPANIS makes a joyful clang and the SYMPHONY # 1 and RECORDER CONCERTO are attractive listening without ever really grabbing you. TWELVE HOURS OF SUNSET is the closest to his avant garde roots with Nono, and is the longest and most substantial work here. Like Nono, his strongest suit seems to be as a choral writer, and this work doesn't bore for a minute of its more than half hour duration.
Piers Adams is an extaordinary soloist in the RECORDER CONCERTO.
The sound recording is first rate."