Luke Bedford: In Black Bright Ink

Luke Bedford In Black Bright Ink
In Black Bright Ink

Luke Bedford: In Black Bright Ink

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for bass clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano
Luke Bedford
Instrumentation details:
bass clarinet in Bb
Commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with financial assistance from Arts Council England and the following individuals through BCMG’s Sound Investment scheme: Viv and Hazel Astling, Paul Bond, Allan and Pat Brookfield, Alan S Carr, Christopher Carrier, Simon Collings, Alan B Cook, Kath England, Anne P Fletcher, Tarik O’Regan, Stephen and Jackie Newbould, Frank and June North, Kim and Kay Prior, Maureen and William Scott, Michael and Sandra Squires
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In Black Bright Ink

Work introduction

…where, alack,
Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 65

The piece focuses on the gradual development of a simple oscillating figure first heard in the lowest octave of the piano. These deep notes dominate the texture of the piece – indeed the left hand of the piano never leaves the lowest octave at any point. The opening sounds also informed the choice of instruments: the cello and bass clarinet complement the dark tones of the piano and only the violin plays higher pitches. 

As the piece develops, fragments of melody gradually appear in the cello and bass clarinet, before passing on to the violin. In the final section, the oscillating figuration breaks down, leaving a skeletal series of chords with higher harmonics emerging from them. 

In Black Bright Ink is dedicated to Jackie and Stephen Newbould.

Special prints

In Black Bright Ink

Luke Bedford: In Black Bright Ink

score and parts
for bass clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano , 8’

World première

CBSO Centre, Birmingham (GB)
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

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