Bedford: Star Clusters, Nebulae and Places in Devon; The Song of the White Horse

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bedford
LABELS: Classicprint
WORKS: Star Clusters, Nebulae and Places in Devon; The Song of the White Horse
PERFORMER: LPO Brass & Chorus/John Alldis; Queens College Choir, Nash Ensemble/Steuart Bedford
CATALOGUE NO: CPVP011 Reissue
The passage of time is not kind to certain works, and David Bedford’s The Song of the White Horse is unfortunately one of them. Originally written for a 1978 Omnibus programme as a musical evocation of the route from a stone-age burial chamber to the White Horse of Uffington, and culminating in a lengthy choral celebration of King Alfred’s victory over the Danes (complete with helium gas inhaled by the choir for those ultra-ultra-high notes), the work’s extensive use of electronic keyboards, echo effects and pseudo-Olde English folk tunes gives it a distinctly Seventies prog rock twang. The wonderfully titled Star Clusters, Nebulae and Places in Devon (undated on the CD, but from 1971), has stood the test of time rather better, its dense, pulsating clusters and towering chords from choir and brass ensemble evoking a suitable sense of wonder at cosmic beauty and ancient civilisation. The performances are characterful if a little ragged in places. David Kettle

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