WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bednall: Hail, Gladdening Light / Wells Cathedral Choir

Bednall,David
Release Date: 10/10/2008 
Label:  Regent   Catalog #: 247  
Composer:  David Bednall
Performer:  David Bednall
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
This title is currently unavailable.



Notes and Editorial Reviews



A choir on top form and clearly relishing this important new voice

David Bednall (b1979) is an accomplished organist – a fact underlined by a fine display of virtuosity in the extended Adagio – who has already appeared as soloist and accompanist on a number of discs. This latest release also shows him to be a thoroughly assured composer, the many influences on his style generously acknowledged in his own booklet-note. Most obvious of these is Duruflé, not least in the expansion of the plainchant melodies on which both the deliciously luminous Hail, gladdening light and the unaccompanied setting of the Mass Lux et origo are based. Other French
Read more composers (with Messiaen leading the pack) have flavoured the writing in the wonderfully spacious canticles of the Wells Service, and the influence of English composers may be rather more subtle (if Bednall hadn’t mentioned him, I would never have identified Finzi as an influence).

However, it’s not the influences themselves but how they coalesce into a distinctive compositional voice which matters, and this is immensely inspired writing producing an effect which is never less than deeply attractive, musically rewarding and utterly coherent. It is, of course, greatly to Bednall’s benefit that he has been able to call on the services of Matthew Owens and the marvellous Wells Cathedral Choir. They are at the very top of their form, one of the most impressive of today’s British cathedral choirs. They sing this music with great assurance and clearly relish Bednall’s sometimes very heady musical language. Their luxurious tone and impressive dynamic range, magnificently captured in this superlative recording, give a real edge to music which stands out vividly as much for its musical as for its communicative qualities. New kid on the block or not, David Bednall is clearly a composer with something very worthwhile to say.

-- Marc Rochester, Gramophone [5/2007]

"This CD was released in the U.K. in 2006, when its featured composer was all of 27 years old—a loquacious tribute to his talent, and to the faith those around him have in his abilities. The opening Easter Alleluia (2005) puts Bednall’s cards squarely on the table: A hieratic solo bass introduces joyfully dissonant chorus and organ. The Wells Service (2005) presented here consists of four movements, here split into two panels of two, largely maintaining the mood of jagged exultation, Bednall’s organ part providing a solid foundation for some fairly secure choral singing—though one or two of the solo interjections find the going a little tough. Come, Holy Ghost (2002) has a broad, Vaughan Williamsish certainty to it; I wasn’t surprised to read in Bednall’s notes that it is chant-based. The alternatim Mass Lux et Origo (2005) comes as a complete contrast; chant here plays a much more direct part, and the relative simplicity, melodic and textural, allows the piece to act as a point of repose in the middle of the program. In Hail. Gladdening Light (2006) Bednall allows himself some restrained ecstasy, the clusters at the end produced by giving the singers their aleatoric head. Oddly enough, in view of our conversation about truncating larger organ works into single movements, Bednall’s Adagio, which rises to a climax and falls back again, sounds rather as if it might be from a substantial sonata in the making. Finally, The Gloucester Service (2001) is a “mag and nunc,” with one foot in Vaughan Williams and the other in Walton."

FANFARE: Martin Anderson

"It is music in a perpetual state of climax... The overall choral sound is wonderfully blended and must rank as one of the top cathedral sounds outside London." -- BBC Music Magazine March 2007

"The singing of Wells Cathedral Choir - its fine eighteen-voice girl choristers on the top line - is immaculate and Matthew Owens, for whom several of the works were written, directs with flair and obvious enthusiasm for Bednall's music." -- The Organ February 2007
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Easter Alleluia by David Bednall
Performer:  David Bednall (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
2. The Wells Service by David Bednall
Performer:  David Bednall (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
3. Come, Holy Ghost by David Bednall
Performer:  David Bednall (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
4. Lux et Origo by David Bednall
Performer:  David Bednall (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
5. Hail, gladdening Light by David Bednall
Performer:  David Bednall (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
6. Adagio for Organ by David Bednall
Performer:  David Bednall (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
7. The Gloucester Service by David Bednall
Performer:  David Bednall (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook