Magazine article Gramophone

Bednall: Ave Maria

Magazine article Gramophone

Bednall: Ave Maria

Article excerpt

Bednall [G]

Ave Maria (a). Marian Suite (b). Stabat mater (c) (ab) Jennifer Pike vn (ac) Benenden Chapel Choir / Edward Whiting with David Bednall org Regent (F) REGCD481 (74' * DDD * T/t)

This is the fourth Regent CD to feature music by David Bednall (b1979), one of Britain's leading choral composers. The first disc, 'Hail, Gladdening Light' (5/07), was a Gramophone Editor's Choice, and I feel that this new release--featuring an entirely Marian-themed programme--will also prove to be a decisive milestone in his compositional development. The centrepiece is a new setting of the Stabat mater, first heard in New York last year, which received its UK premiere in June with the artists featured here.

Nearly an hour in duration, the 13th-century sequence is cast in 11 movements, including an important prelude for violin and organ, which identifies several leading motifs. The violin takes a central role: Bednall associates it directly with Mary's sorrow. The work's idiom is immediate and easily digested. Although Bednall specifically refers to Howells's influence in his excellent booklet-note, it is very subtly assimilated and is more obvious in the organ accompaniment, with its scrunchy meanderings over long pedal notes. …

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