Bedford: Recorder Concerto

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COMPOSERS: Bedford
LABELS: NMC
WORKS: Recorder Concerto
PERFORMER: Piers Adams (recorders) BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins
CATALOGUE NO: D045S
This special issue is classed as a CD single. The performance is special too, since Piers Adams is a player of extraordinary virtuosity, sensitively accompanied by Brabbins and the orchestra, for which the composer should take credit too. Bedford’s five-movement concerto uses a different recorder in each movement, aiming at a different sound-world. Thus the bass instrument opens with the orchestra pitched relatively high, while the descant closes the work with the orchestra low. Tempi are fast in the outer sections, while at the centre is an eloquent, rhapsodic Adagio. The minimalist driving rhythms, however, seem like vehicles for empty virtuosity, and these doubts are encouraged by the unrealistic, ‘larger than life’ closeness with which the soloist is recorded. Terry Barfoot

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