Festival Composer-in-Association David Bednall has been invited to compose a Sonata for viola and piano (RVW in memoriam) to have its world premiere at the festival.
David’s response included ” The music of Ralph Vaughan Williams has been central to my life as a composer and as a performer and lecturer. I find his music a great inspiration and a constant source of new directions for musical exploration. The viola is my favourite instrument and I have long wanted to write a Sonata for it and piano. This opportunity would therefore seem ideal – it would be an immense honour to be able to write a Sonata in memoriam RVW, thus paying tribute to the music of this great figure whilst also adding to the body of music for solo viola.
In terms of my career as a composer this is an important commission. Much of my work to date has been choral and I am keen to extend my composition work further into the realm of of instrumental music.”
David Bednall is recognized as one of the leading choral composers of his generation, and studied for a PhD in Composition with Professor John Pickard at the University of Bristol. He has an extensive freelance playing and conducting career, and is a Teaching Fellow and Organist of The University of Bristol, Sub Organist at Bristol Cathedral, and Director of The University Singers. He studied with Dr. Naji Hakim and David Briggs and was Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral.
He won prizes in Improvisation and Performance at the examination for FRCO and a CD of improvisations with Malcolm Archer received excellent reviews. He has improvised on live radio, and performed extensively in the UK and abroad, including a recital at Notre-Dame de Paris. He appeared as stunt-organist on Dr Who.
He is most prominent as a composer, and the CD Hail, gladdening light was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice. The recording of his Requiem received similar accolades, and a further recording of his choral music, Flame Celestial, received a Gramophone Recommendation. A number of his works have been broadcast on radio, and recent work has included Missa Sancti Pauli for St Paul’s Cathedral, and Welcome All Wonders for The Queen’s College, Oxford. The latter is his largest work to date and the recording on Signum has garnered superb international critical acclaim. Recent work includes the 40–part motet Lux orta est iusto, a commission from the Finzi Trust to write a Gloria and Nunc dimittis to accompany Finzi’s setting of the Magnificat for the Three Choirs Festival 2016, and Stabat Mater. The recording of this on Regent with Jennifer Pike (violin) and the Chapel Choir of Benenden School under Edward Whiting was an Editor’s Choice in the Awards Edition of Gramophone 2016. Recent projects have included a BBC Commission for James Gilchrist, Philip Dukes, and Anna Tilbrook which was premiered in Hull, City of Culture, in July 2017.
Photo by Iain MacLeod-Jones