The world première of Luke Bedford’s new ensemble work Renewal, which was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta, takes place today, on 22 May under Sian Edwards. Furthermore, Bedford’s Wonderful No-Headed Nightingale for 10 players will receive its UK première in the same concert.
Bedford, whom Andrew Burke, chief executive of the London Sinfonietta, described as “one of the best British composers of his generation” has written that “Renewal is about creating something new from the rubble of each previous section. Though the material of any given part might appear stable, it always collapses. The piece is a celebration of renewal and regrowth: written in the full knowledge of its impermanence.”
The London Sinfonietta released an introductory video about Bedford on YouTube which you can watch here:
for 12 players | 22’
1 1 1 0 - 1 0 1 0 - perc, hp, str
Wonderful No-Headed Nightingale (2012)
for 10 players | 8’
22/5/2013, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; London Sinfonietta, cond. Sian Edwards
The composer describes the six movements of Or Voit Tout En Aventure as “settings of three texts written in medieval French and Italian, which are linked in some way by the theme of music. They all exist as songs written in the latter part of the 14th century, which I have shamelessly torn from their original musical context and treated purely as texts.” For By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold, Bedford tried to capture “the ‘essence’ of Johannesburg”.
By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold
for 18 players | 18’
1 1 2 1 - 1 2 1 0 - perc(2), pno, vln(2), vla, vc(2), cb
Or Voit Tout En Aventure
for soprano and 16 players | 14'
1 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 0 - perc(2), hp, acc, vln(2), vla, vc, cb
6.12.2012, London; Yunkyung Lee, s; Philharmonia Orchestra, cond. Peter Hirsch
Luke Bedford’s new portrait CD has just been released by col legno.
The CD, supported by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, contains an excellent cross-section of the composer’s output to date.
Listen to excerpts here
1. Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale (2011)
for violine solo, viola solo and 15 players
Jonathan Morton (violine), Lawrence Power (viola)
The Scottish Ensemble
2. into Johannesburg:
By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold (2008)
für 18 players
Ensemble Modern, conductor: Sian Edwards
3. Chiaroscuro (2002/2005)
for violin, violoncello and piano
Fidelio Trio: Darragh Morgan (violin), Robin Michael (violoncello) and Mary Dullea (piano)
4. Man Shoots Strangers from Skyscraper (2002)
for eight players
Ensemble Modern, conductor: Franck Ollu
5. Or Voit Tout en Aventure (2005–2006)
for soprano and 16 players
Claire Booth (soprano), London Sinfonietta, conductor: Oliver Knussen
Luke Bedford already has his copy of the brand new col legno CD – Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale – fresh from the Ernst von Siemens Prize awards ceremony last Friday.
We will let you know as soon as it is available to order.
This Saturday, BBC Radio 3 broadcasts the complete recording of Luke Bedford’s opera Seven Angels (video intro here). Nicholas Collon conducts the BCMG in a production by the Opera Group directed by John Fulljames last summer.
Listen online this Saturday 14 April at 22:00 London time (23:00 Paris, Berlin, Vienna) on BBC Radio 3.
To celebrate the first broadcast, we’ve uploaded the full piano reduction of the opera. Click below for a full screen view (also available on ISSUU.com).
The first reviews of the Scottish Ensemble’s world première of Luke Bedford’s Wonderful Two-Headed Nightingale are in.
Kate Molleson in The Guardian calls it a “bold, dense and arresting blast of a composition – a work that forcefully reiterates Bedford’s voice and brilliantly showcased its fine set of players.” ****
Juliet Williams at Classical Iconoclast writes, “The soloists seem at times to be ‘joined at the hip’ but at other times to be locked in a power struggle.”
Kelly Apter in The Scotsman explains, that “offering no comfort, it made me sit up in my chair and listen, as Morton and guest violist Lawrence Power battled with each other, then came together in harmony, just as the conjoined twins who inspired the piece must have done.” ****
Alan Coady of Bachtrack.com writes “The dramatic tension in this piece derives from two solo lines which follow equal mindsets: striving to break free from the other; reunited and more happily resigned to the status of being a twin.” ****
And some goosebumps:
performance at the City Halls in Glasgow
is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
In an interview for the Seattle Times, Knussen says:
“[Bedford] writes music that is at the same time highly abstract in structure and very poetic in sound and resonance. ‘Outblaze the Sky’ is a short piece which is, in effect, a single big crescendo. He writes beautifully for orchestra, and the harmonic world is beautiful and distinctive. And it’s practical and relatively easy to put together!”
Read the full interview at the Seattle Times.
More on Outblaze The Sky, including an audio excerpt.
The concert, which is part of the Wien Modern festival, is the ensemble’s first in Vienna for 15 years.
Also on the programme is Harrison Birtwistle’s Silbury Air, as well as works by George Benjamin, Simon Holt and Thomas Adès.
Luke Bedford is in Birmingham for tonight’s world première of his new opera Seven Angels, based on Milton’s Paradise Lost. The libretto is by Glyn Maxwell. Read his article in the Guardian about the work.
Andrew Clements chose Seven Angels as one of his picks of live music this week, also in the Guardian.
Director John Fulljames and Luke Bedford spoke to the BBC’s In Tune programme yesterday. Listen again here (about 1:06 in).
Vykintas Baltakas’ (co)ro(na) is performed in Düsseldorf by the notabu.ensemble (15 June)
Ernst Krenek’s Das Geheime Königreich opens in Athens at the Greek National Opera.
The world première of Luke Bedford’s opera Seven Angels is on Friday 17 June.
The world première of Johannes Maria Staud’s Par ici is given by Ensemble intercontemporain, also on Friday.
Richard Rodney Bennett’s All the King’s Men can be heard in a new production in Cambridge on Saturday.
The list goes on … see all forthcoming concerts in our online performance calendar.