Magazine article The American Organist

Flame Celestial: Choral Music

Magazine article The American Organist

Flame Celestial: Choral Music

Article excerpt

FLAME CELESTIAL: CHORAL MUSIC BY DAVID BEDNALL, VOL. 2. Wells Cathedral Choir; Jonathan Vaughan, organist; Matthew Owens, conductor. IV/88 Harrison & Harrison organ (1910, with elements of Henry Willis, 1857; rebuilt by Harrison & Harrison, 1973/74). Regent Records REGCD320. Regentrecords.com. David Bednall (b. 1979) is active as a freelance composer, organist and pianist. He is currently organist of the University of Bristol, sub organist at Bristol Cathedral, and conductor of the University Singers. Previously he served as sub organist and then assistant organist at Wells Cathedral. His previous recording, Hail Gladdening Light, also performed by the musicians at Wells, has received glowing reviews. The present recording deserves no less. Bednalfs music is powerful emotionally as well as musically, calling upon well-trained musicians to render it effectively. The music is rooted in tonality while employing generous amounts of dissonance that results from myriad compositional factors. Bednall states that the primary ingredients for his composition are color and texture, both of which he uses magnificently to produce memorable impressions. He cites a diverse roster of composers as his inspiration: Finzi, Vaughan Williams, Duruflé, Messiaen, Puccini, Strauss, and Cochereau. Bednall studied improvisation with David Briggs and Naji Hakim, whose influences are also evident. He credits the music of Howells to be the most important influence, sharing that composer's desire "to make nice sounds." Bednall synthesizes these disparate influences into an entirely new and compelling musical language that carries the listener deep into the heart of the texts being sung.

Repertoire, dating from 2001-2008, includes Everyone Sang, the four evening canticles from The Wells Service, Behold, O God our defender, The souls of the righteous, Missa Sancti Pauli (composed for St. …

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