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David Bedford

David Bedford

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David Vickerman Bedford (4 August 1937 – 1 October 2011), was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 and musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

. He wrote and played both popular
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

 and classical music.

He was the brother of the conductor
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

 Steuart Bedford
Steuart Bedford
Steuart John Rudolf Bedford is a British orchestral and opera conductor. He is the brother of composer David Bedford and a grandson of Liza Lehmann....

 and the grandson of the composer, painter and author Herbert Bedford and the composer Liza Lehmann
Liza Lehmann
Liza Lehmann was an English operatic soprano and composer, known for her vocal compositions.-Biography:She was born Elisabetha Nina Mary Frederica Lehmann in London. Her father was the German painter Rudolf Lehmann and her mother was Amelia Chambers, a music teacher, composer and arranger...


From 1969 to 1981, Bedford was Composer in Residence at Queen's College, London
Queen's College, London
Queen's College is an independent school for girls aged 11–18. It is located in central London at numbers 43-49, Harley Street. Founded in 1848 by F. D. Maurice, Professor of English Literature and History at King's College London along with a committee of patrons, the College was the first...

. From 1968 to 1980, he taught music in a number of London secondary school
Secondary school
Secondary school is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place...

s. In 1996 he was appointed Composer in Association with the English Sinfonia. In 2001 he was appointed Chairman of the Performing Right Society
Performing Right Society
PRS for Music is a UK copyright collection society undertaking collective rights management for musical works. PRS for Music was formed in 1997 as the MCPS-PRS Alliance, bringing together two collection societies: the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society and Performing Right Society...

, having previously been Deputy Chairman.

Bedford died on 1 October 2011 aged 74 of lung cancer.

Early life and career

Bedford studied music at the Royal Academy of Music
Royal Academy of Music
The Royal Academy of Music in London, England, is a conservatoire, Britain's oldest degree-granting music school and a constituent college of the University of London since 1999. The Academy was founded by Lord Burghersh in 1822 with the help and ideas of the French harpist and composer Nicolas...

 under Lennox Berkeley
Lennox Berkeley
Sir Lennox Randal Francis Berkeley was an English composer.- Biography :He was born in Oxford, England, and educated at the Dragon School, Gresham's School and Merton College, Oxford...

, and later in Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 under Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono was an Italian avant-garde composer of classical music and remains one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century.- Early years :Born in Venice, he was a member of a wealthy artistic family, and his grandfather was a notable painter...

. His studies and early influences included the work of Nono, Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, music theorist and conductor.- Biography :Born in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Hindemith was taught the violin as a child...

, Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School...

 and Anton Webern
Anton Webern
Anton Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student and significant follower of Arnold Schoenberg, he became one of the best-known exponents of the twelve-tone technique; in addition, his innovations regarding schematic organization of...


In 1969, Bedford was engaged to orchestrate
Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra or of adapting for orchestra music composed for another medium...

 Kevin Ayers
Kevin Ayers
Kevin Ayers is an English singer-songwriter and was a major influential force in the English psychedelic movement...

' album Joy of a Toy
Joy of a Toy
Joy of a Toy is the debut solo album of Kevin Ayers, a founding member of Soft Machine. Its whimsical and unique vision is a clear indication of how Soft Machine might have progressed under Ayers' tenure...

, on which he also played keyboards. This led to his role as keyboardist for Ayers' band, Kevin Ayers and the Whole World, who recorded one album, Shooting at the Moon
Shooting at the Moon (album)
Shooting at the Moon is the second solo album of Kevin Ayers.In early 1970, Ayers assembled a band he called The Whole World to tour his debut LP Joy of a Toy that included, a young Mike Oldfield, David Bedford, Lol Coxhill, Mick Fincher, the folk singer Bridget St. John and Robert Wyatt...

(1970). On that album, in addition to organ and piano, Bedford plays accordion
The accordion is a box-shaped musical instrument of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist....

, marimbaphone
The marimbaphone is an obsolete tuned percussion instrument, developed by the Deagan company of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. in the early 20th century.The marimbaphone had shallow steel bars arranged chromatically with a tube resonator under each bar...

 and guitar. Bedford also contributed to later Kevin Ayers albums as keyboardist and orchestral arranger.

Recording and arranging

Bedford's work with The Whole World led to collaborations with the group's saxophonist Lol Coxhill
Lol Coxhill
Lowen Coxhill, generally known as Lol Coxhill is a free improvising saxophonist and raconteur...

, with whom he formed the Coxhill-Bedford Duo. The Duo released several singles of old vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 and British music hall
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

 songs featuring Bedford on piano and lead vocal, and Coxhill on saxophone and second vocal, for John Peel
John Peel
John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE , known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004...

's Dandelion Records
Dandelion Records
Dandelion Records was a British record label started in 1969 by the British DJ John Peel as a way to get the music he liked onto record. Peel was responsible for "artistic direction" and the commercial side was handled by Clive Selwood of Elektra Records and his wife Shurely...

 label in the early 1970s. One of these singles was released under the pseudonym, Will Dandy and the Dandylettes (covering a medley of Al Jolson
Al Jolson
Al Jolson was an American singer, comedian and actor. In his heyday, he was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer"....

 songs), with the B-side credited to the Coxhill-Bedford Duo. More tracks by the Duo appear on Coxhill's solo album, Ear of Beholder (1971) on which they play three songs, including an early version of "Don Alfonso
Don Alfonso (song)
"Don Alfonso" is the second UK single by musician Mike Oldfield, released in 1975 . Side 1 has an additional credit: "featuring David Bedford on vocals". This is a comic novelty song from the early 20th century, sung by a boasting, bogus toreador, who seems to know very little about...

" which Bedford would record again later. Still more Coxhill-Bedford Duo songs can be found on Banana Follies, a 1972 BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 concert radio broadcast featuring Kevin Ayers, released on CD in 1998. In that broadcast, Bedford and Coxhill also perform a short radio play titled "Murder in the Air". Coxhill later re-recorded the play without Bedford and released it as a 12-inch single, stating in the liner notes that he would have preferred to record it with Bedford, who was unavailable.

The first album to consist entirely of David Bedford compositions was Nurses Song With Elephants, recorded at the Marquee Studios, and released in 1972 on John Peel's Dandelion label. On this album, Bedford mixed classical ensemble with poems and voices. Some Bright Stars for Queen's College uses twenty-seven plastic pipe twirlers, John Peel himself being among the pipe twirler players. There are five tracks on the album: It's Easier Than It Looks, Nurses Song With Elephants, Some Bright Stars for Queen's College, Trona (1967), and Sad and Lonely Faces. Bass guitar on the title song is played by Mike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield
Michael Gordon Oldfield is an English multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, working a style that blends progressive rock, folk, ethnic or world music, classical music, electronic music, New Age, and more recently, dance. His music is often elaborate and complex in nature...

 and the final track features a poem by Kenneth Patchen
Kenneth Patchen
Kenneth Patchen was an American poet and novelist. Though he denied any direct connection, Patchen's work and ideas regarding the role of artists paralleled those of the Dadaists, the Beats, and Surrealists...

 that is sung by Kevin Ayers.

Bedford collaborated even more extensively with Mike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield
Michael Gordon Oldfield is an English multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, working a style that blends progressive rock, folk, ethnic or world music, classical music, electronic music, New Age, and more recently, dance. His music is often elaborate and complex in nature...

, The Whole World's bass guitar
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

ist. He orchestrated and conducted Oldfield's The Orchestral Tubular Bells
The Orchestral Tubular Bells
The Orchestral Tubular Bells is an orchestral version of Mike Oldfield's album Tubular Bells, arranged by David Bedford and recorded in 1974 by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring Oldfield himself playing the guitar. In 2000 it was reissued by Virgin as a HDCD.Excerpts from the album were...

album (1975), an adaptation of Tubular Bells
Tubular Bells
Tubular Bells is the debut record album of English musician Mike Oldfield, released in 1973. It was the first album released by Virgin Records and an early cornerstone of the company's success...

, the record that had given the Virgin
Virgin Records
Virgin Records is a British record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell in 1972. The company grew to be a worldwide music phenomenon, with platinum performers such as Roy Orbison, Devo, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Lenny...

 record label its first major success in 1973. Bedford also orchestrated Oldfield's follow-up album-length composition, Hergest Ridge
Hergest Ridge (album)
Hergest Ridge is the second record album by Mike Oldfield, released in 1974 on Virgin Records.Oldfield was not comfortable with the public attention that had come from the success of Tubular Bells, and retreated to the English countryside to work on the follow-up...

(1974) as The Orchestral Hergest Ridge, which was performed live and recorded for radio broadcast from concert performances twice, once in 1974 by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a British orchestra based in London. It tours widely, and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's national orchestra"...

 with Steve Hillage
Steve Hillage
Steve Hillage is an English musician, best known as a guitarist. He is associated with the Canterbury scene and has worked in experimental domains since the late 1960s...

 on guitar, and once in 1976 by the Scottish National Orchestra
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra is Scotland's national symphony orchestra. Based in Glasgow, the 89-member professional orchestra also regularly performs in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, and abroad. Formed in 1891 as the Scottish Orchestra, the company has performed full-time since 1950,...

, again with Hillage on guitar, although Andy Summers
Andy Summers
Andy Summers is an English guitarist born in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, England. Best known as the guitarist for rock band The Police, he has also recorded twelve solo albums, collaborated with many other artists, toured extensively under his own name, published several books, and composed...

 had played on other performances that year. The latter recording was acquired by Virgin, but not released as an album, although portions of it were used in The Space Movie (1979) which featured Oldfield's music.

Bedford provided vocals and piano for Oldfield's cover versions of more old music hall numbers (in the manner of the now-defunct Coxhill-Bedford Duo), Don Alfonso (1974) and Speak (Tho' You Only Say Farewell) (1976), collaborated with Oldfield on a piece titled "First Excursion" for Oldfield's box set compilation Boxed
Boxed (Mike Oldfield album)
Boxed is a compilation album written and mostly performed by Mike Oldfield, released in 1976 . It features quadraphonic remixed versions of his first three albums and some collaborations.- Background :Boxed features quadraphonic remixed versions of his first three albums...

, and orchestrated Oldfield's soundtrack for The Killing Fields
The Killing Fields (film)
The Killing Fields is a 1984 British drama film about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, which is based on the experiences of two journalists: Cambodian Dith Pran and American Sydney Schanberg. The film, which won three Academy Awards, was directed by Roland Joffé and stars Sam Waterston as...

(1984). In 1983, Oldfield created a short-lived record label called Oldfield Music whose sole release was a David Bedford album, Star Clusters, Nebulae and Places in Devon / The Song of the White Horse.

Bedford's association with Oldfield led to a record contract to make a number of albums for Virgin, some using orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

l players, others featuring Bedford's keyboards, and some include Oldfield as a featured performer. Album titles from this period include Star's End (1974), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1975, a musical setting of the poem
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and was published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Modern editions use a later revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss...

 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla...

), The Odyssey (1976, a musical setting of the play
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

 by Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

), and Instructions for Angels (1977), the latter including an appearance by Mike Ratledge
Mike Ratledge
Michael Roland "Mike" Ratledge is a British musician. Ratledge was part of the Canterbury scene and a long-time member of Soft Machine.-Biography and career:...


Bedford contributed to records by the Edgar Broughton Band
Edgar Broughton Band
The Edgar Broughton Band, founded in 1968 in Warwick, England, is an English Psychedelic Rock group.-Career:The band started their career as a blues group under the name of The Edgar Broughton Blues Band, playing to a dedicated but limited following in the region around their hometown of Warwick...

, including a single titled Up Yours!, a polemic
A polemic is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion...

 on the 1970 UK general election
United Kingdom general election, 1970
The United Kingdom general election of 1970 was held on 18 June 1970, and resulted in a surprise victory for the Conservative Party under leader Edward Heath, who defeated the Labour Party under Harold Wilson. The election also saw the Liberal Party and its new leader Jeremy Thorpe lose half their...

 declaring their intention to drop out
Turn on, tune in, drop out
"Turn on, tune in, drop out" is a counterculture phrase popularized by Timothy Leary in 1967. Leary spoke at the Human Be-In, a gathering of 30,000 hippies in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and uttered the famous phrase, "Turn on, tune in, drop out". In a 1988 interview with Neil Strauss, Leary...

. The single features a string
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

The American Federation of Musicians defines arranging as "the art of preparing and adapting an already written composition for presentation in other than its original form. An arrangement may include reharmonization, paraphrasing, and/or development of a composition, so that it fully represents...

 by Bedford.

Bedford worked on several Roy Harper
Roy Harper
Roy Harper is an English folk / rock singer-songwriter and guitarist who has been a professional musician since the mid 1960s...

 projects, including the 1971 four-song album Stormcock which also featured Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page
James Patrick "Jimmy" Page, OBE is an English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and record producer. He began his career as a studio session guitarist in London and was subsequently a member of The Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968, after which he founded the English rock band Led Zeppelin.Jimmy Page...

 on guitar (credited as S. Flavius Mercurius for contractual reasons), and the 1974 album Valentine
Valentine (album)
Valentine is the seventh album by English folk / rock singer-songwriter and guitarist Roy Harper. It was first released in 1974 by Harvest Records.-History:...

. Bedford also conducted an orchestra during Harper's live concerts, including the Valentine's Day launch of the album, the concert later released as Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion
Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion
Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion is a live double album released in 1974 by Roy Harper.-History:The album's liner notes state the tracks were "recorded at various concerts in England at one time or another". Two of the songs were recorded on Valentine's Day at a concert to mark the release of...

 and featuring, among others, Keith Moon
Keith Moon
Keith John Moon was an English musician, best known for being the drummer of the English rock group The Who. He gained acclaim for his exuberant and innovative drumming style, and notoriety for his eccentric and often self-destructive behaviour, earning him the nickname "Moon the Loon". Moon...

. In 2001 he was reunited with Harper when the latter celebrated his 60th birthday with a concert at London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's Royal Festival Hall
Royal Festival Hall
The Royal Festival Hall is a 2,900-seat concert, dance and talks venue within Southbank Centre in London. It is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames, not far from Hungerford Bridge. It is a Grade I listed building - the first post-war building to become so protected...

, joined by numerous guest artists, including Jeff Martin
Jeff Martin (Canadian musician)
Jeffrey Scott Martin is a Canadian guitarist and singer-songwriter best known for fronting the rock band The Tea Party. Martin began his career as a solo artist in October 2005, when The Tea Party disbanded....

 and John Renbourn
John Renbourn
John Renbourn is an English guitarist and songwriter. He is possibly best known for his collaboration with guitarist Bert Jansch as well as his work with the folk group Pentangle, although he maintained a solo career before, during and after that band's existence .While most commonly labelled a...

. A recording of the concert Royal Festival Hall Live - June 10th 2001
Royal Festival Hall Live - June 10th 2001
The Royal Festival Hall Live – June 10th 2001 is a live double album of English folk/rock singer-songwriter Roy Harper's 60th birthday concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London.-Disc one:#"Commune" - 5:01#"I'll See You Again" - 4:49...

was released as a double CD shortly afterwards.

He also worked with a wide variety of other artists, including A-ha
A-ha were a Norwegian pop band formed in Oslo in 1982. The band was founded by Morten Harket , Magne Furuholmen , and Pål Waaktaar...

, Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg
Stephen William Bragg , better known as Billy Bragg, is an English alternative rock musician and left-wing activist. His music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, and his lyrics mostly deal with political or romantic themes...

, Camel
Camel (band)
Camel are an English progressive rock band formed in 1971. An important group in the Canterbury scene, they have been releasing studio and live recordings steadily, with considerable success, since their formation.-1970s:...

, Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

, Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Frankie Goes to Hollywood were a British dance-pop band popular in the mid-1980s. The group was fronted by Holly Johnson , with Paul Rutherford , Peter Gill , Mark O'Toole , and Brian Nash .The group's debut single "Relax" was banned by the BBC in 1984 while at number six in the charts and...

, Madness
Madness (band)
In 1979, the band recorded the Lee Thompson composition "The Prince". The song, like the band's name, paid homage to their idol, Prince Buster. The song was released through 2 Tone Records, the label of The Specials founder Jerry Dammers. The song was a surprise hit, peaking in the UK music charts...

, Andy Summers, Alan White
Alan White (Yes drummer)
Alan White is an English rock drummer known for his work with the progressive rock band Yes. White was also a member of the Plastic Ono Band, playing live in 1969 at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival, which was recorded and released three months later as Live Peace in Toronto 1969...

 (drummer for Yes
Yes (band)
Yes are an English rock band who achieved worldwide success with their progressive, art, and symphonic style of rock music. Regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre, Yes are known for their lengthy songs, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, and live stage sets...

), and Robert Wyatt
Robert Wyatt
Robert Wyatt is an English musician, and founding member of the influential Canterbury scene band Soft Machine, with a long and distinguished solo career...


Avant-garde classical compositions

All this time, Bedford was also writing avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 classical works. The liner notes
Liner notes
Liner notes are the writings found in booklets which come inserted into the compact disc jewel case or the equivalent packaging for vinyl records and cassettes.-Origin:...

 from a 1970 album cite Piece for Mo (1963) as "his first work of standing", although that piece has never been recorded for release.

Another early composition, Come In Here, Child was recorded twice in the 1960s for two different classical record labels, Mainstream
Mainstream Records
Mainstream Records was an American record label, which released jazz, rock music, and soundtracks during the 1970s.It was founded in 1964 by Bob Shad, and in its early history reissued material from Commodore Records and Time Records in addition to some new jazz material...

 and RCA Red Seal
RCA Records
RCA Records is one of the flagship labels of Sony Music Entertainment. The RCA initials stand for Radio Corporation of America , which was the parent corporation from 1929 to 1985 and a partner from 1985 to 1986.RCA's Canadian unit is Sony's oldest label...


O Now the Drenched Land Wakes and The Great Birds (two poems for chorus based on the words of Kenneth Patchen, 1966) were released by Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical record label which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram. It is now part of Universal Music Group since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label...

 on one of their Avant Garde series of albums in 1968.

Music for Albion Moonlight was released in 1970 by Argo Records
Argo Records (UK)
Argo Records was a record label founded in 1951 by Harley Usill , and musicologist Cyril Clarke with £500 capital, initially as a company specialising in "British music played by British artists" , but it quickly became a company primarily specialising in spoken-word recordings and other esoteric ...

, paired with a companion composition, And Suddenly It's Evening by Elisabeth Lutyens
Elisabeth Lutyens
Elisabeth Lutyens, CBE was a significant English composer.- Early life and education :She was one of the five children of architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and his wife Emily, who was profoundly involved in the Theosophical Movement...


Star Clusters, Nebulae and Places in Devon (1971), for chorus
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 and brass instrument
Brass instrument
A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose sound is produced by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips...

s was premièred by the London Philharmonic Choir
London Philharmonic Choir
The London Philharmonic Choir is one of the leading independent British choirs in the United Kingdom based in London. The Patron is Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy and Sir Roger Norrington is President. The choir, comprising over 200 members, holds charitable status and is governed by a...

 and the brass of the London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra , based in London, is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom, and is based in the Royal Festival Hall. In addition, the LPO is the main resident orchestra of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera...


In With 100 Kazoos (1971), an instrumental ensemble
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

 is joined by the audience who are invited to play kazoo
The kazoo is a wind instrument which adds a "buzzing" timbral quality to a player's voice when the player vocalizes into it. The kazoo is a type of mirliton, which is a membranophone, a device which modifies the sound of a person's voice by way of a vibrating membrane."Kazoo" was the name given by...


Bedford also composed a number of works for wind orchestra, beginning with Sun Paints Rainbows on the Vast Waves in 1982, commissioned by the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is held in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. It has a repertoire of cutting-edge jazz, orchestral, choral and electroacoustic performances, along with film, dance and music theatre...

. Many of these works have recorded by the wind orchestra of the Royal Northern College of Music
Royal Northern College of Music
The Royal Northern College of Music is a music school in Manchester, England. It is located on Oxford Road in Chorlton on Medlock, at the western edge of the campus of the University of Manchester and is one of four conservatories associated with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music...

, conducted by Clark Rundell, released by Doyen Records UK in 1998.

Bedford combined skilled and non-skilled musicians in other works as well, with Seascapes (1986), for instance, combining a full symphony orchestra with school children, and Stories from the Dreamtime (1991) written for 40 deaf children and orchestra. He is noted for the large amount of educational music he has written for children. The musical notation
Musical notation
Music notation or musical notation is any system that represents aurally perceived music, through the use of written symbols.-History:...

 he uses is often unconventional, frequently making use of graphics
Graphic notation
Graphic notation is the representation of music through the use of visual symbols outside the realm of traditional music notation. Graphic notation evolved in the 1950s, and it is often used in combination with traditional music notation...

, thus letting his works be performed by children and others who cannot read conventional notation. For example, in the liner notes to the album Viola Today (1974) by Karen Phillips, it is stated that in the score of Bedford's Spillihpnerak (1972) (the title being the performer's name printed backwards) there is "(a) page consisting of a drawing of a lysozyme
Lysozyme, also known as muramidase or N-acetylmuramide glycanhydrolase, are glycoside hydrolases, enzymes that damage bacterial cell walls by catalyzing hydrolysis of 1,4-beta-linkages between N-acetylmuramic acid and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine residues in a peptidoglycan and between...

A molecule is an electrically neutral group of at least two atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds. Molecules are distinguished from ions by their electrical charge...

 which the performer is asked to interpret".

In general, Bedford's music has a tendency to harmonic
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

 stasis, the main interest instead being created by shifting timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

s and textures. The score to The Song of the White Horse (1977) instructs the choir to inhale helium
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

 gas to be able to reach the highest notes near the end of the piece.

In his music for voice, he has set many texts by the poet Kenneth Patchen, especially on Music for Albion Moonlight which sets four Patchen poems to music, and Instructions for Angels (1978), an album which uses Patchen's poems for inspiration and song titles, although Patchen's poems are not sung or recited in the music, but are printed on an insert.

Science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 was a repeated area of interest for Bedford. The Tentacles of the Dark Nebula has words taken from Arthur C Clarke's short story Transcience, recorded by tenor Peter Pears
Peter Pears
Sir Peter Neville Luard Pears CBE was an English tenor who was knighted in 1978. His career was closely associated with the composer Edward Benjamin Britten....

 with Bedford conducting the London Sinfonietta
London Sinfonietta
The London Sinfonietta is an English chamber orchestra founded in 1968 and based in London. The ensemble specialises in contemporary music and works across a wide range of genres, performing modern classics alongside world premieres, and includes music by electronica artists as well as folk and...

. The title of Star's End was taken from Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

's book Second Foundation
Second Foundation
Second Foundation is the third novel published of the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, and the fifth in the in-universe chronology. It was first published in 1953 by Gnome Press....

. Rigel 9 is a play based on the book by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories, notably in fantasy and science fiction...

, featuring background music composed and recorded by Bedford.

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