David Bednall

David Bednall is recognized as one of the leading choral composers of his generation. He studied for a PhD in Composition with Professor John Pickard at the University of Bristol and is signed to Oxford University Press. He 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 was Organ Scholar at The Queen’s College, Oxford and then at Gloucester Cathedral. He also spent periods there as Acting Director of Music and Acting Assistant Organist and was closely involved with the Three Choirs Festival.

He won prizes in Improvisation and Performance at the examination for Fellow of The Royal College of Organists and has given recitals at La Trinité, Paris, and many English Cathedrals. In June 2008 he gave a recital at Notre-Dame de Paris.

He has performed all the major works of Messiaen and his debut solo recording and CD of improvisations with Malcolm Archer have received excellent reviews. He has improvised on live radio and in concert. He has also appeared as stunt-organist on BBC TV’s Dr Who.

Choral is my heartland and I always enjoy writing for voices. Song as well, and also brass, percussion and organ is hard to beat. I love writing from string instruments as well, and have big love affairs with the viola and clarinet...

If I am setting a text I write the text out by hand in fountain pen before starting. I find this helps me to consider carefully the text, and start thinking about structure and particular points of interest. I like to be thinking about the words long before writing begins. When I do write, it is always in pencil on manuscript paper as this helps to ensure you are not simply repeating yourself; it also means I feel nearer to the music. The final stage is setting it on Sibelius and making any final adjustments. I love the setting part (I am one of the main originators for the new Elgar Edition and Havergal Brian’s Symphonies) but it is for me the final part of the process.
— David Bednall
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Assumpta est Maria

A reflection on the plainchant Assumpta est Maria

Assumpta est Maria is founded upon the Proper for Vespers on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The piece is in two sections and the chant appears throughout. In the first half it is used as a cantus firmus with the accompanying voices providing a filigree texture; the natural feel of the chant and the festal nature of the occasion suggested the dynamic, dancing rhythms which drive the music along. The music reaches a climax before subsiding into the slower second section. The chant here is richly harmonized and also heard as a free-moving soprano solo which floats timelessly above the glowing chords.

WORLD PREMIERE: 22nd February 2018, #Renaissance- Majesty, Manchester Cathedral.