Luke Bedford: Wreathe

  • for orchestra
  • 2 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 0 - timp, perc(1), hp, str
  • Duration: 18’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe (+c.a)
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb (
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon (+cbsn)
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    bass trombone
    violin I
    violin II
  • Composer: Luke Bedford
  • Commission: Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and first performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Thierry Fischer at the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon on December 7th 2007.

Work introduction

Up to starting work on this composition, I had never written a single stretch of music that lasted over 12 minutes, for any size ensemble, let alone orchestra. So in terms of scale, this piece is something of a step into new territory for me. I was concerned with finding a way to make ideas reappear over the course of the piece, but never in the form of straight repetition. From that way of thinking came the idea of various motifs that could appear, for example, as a melody in one part of the piece; as a background figuration in a later section; and also as a bass-line somewhere else.

I was also quite determined not to pre-plan the actual shape of the piece, but to discover it from the material I was working with. Indeed, the first two sections I composed were the opening and the end of the piece (although I wasn't always so sure they would take those positions in the piece), leaving a great big blank in the middle. Having established where I was starting from and where I was going to, it was then a matter of seeing how the material would take me from one to the other!  I wanted to use the full range of the orchestra at moments in the piece, so I included a contrabassoon and contrabass clarinet to add extra weight to the lowest register. And these lower, darker colours dominate much of the music - although they are only gradually introduced after the predominance of middle and upper registers at the opening of the piece.

The title wreathe appealed to me partly due to its slightly archaic, decaying quality, and also because it describes the way in which the ideas of the piece entwine each other. 

Luke Bedford


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Wiltshire Music Center, Bradford-on-Avon (GB)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Thierry Fischer

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