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Bedford, David

Entry updated 29 April 2024. Tagged: Music, People.

(1937-2011) UK composer and musician. Best known for his collaborations with Mike Oldfield – for instance his orchestral version of Tubular Bells as The Orchestral Tubular Bells (1974) – Bedford was also a skilled composer of popular and avant-garde classical music. His Star Clusters, Nebulae and Places in Devon (1971), scored for two eight-part choirs with a five horn brass group, is low-key, unstrained and haunting. Other albums evince a recurring astronomical fascination: The Sword of Orion (1970), Some Stars Above Magnitude 2.9 (1971) and Tentacles of the Dark Nebula (1974). Amongst later work, his graceful and atmospheric instrumental version of Homeric epic, The Odyssey (1976), is especially noteworthy. In 1985 Bedford teamed up with Ursula K Le Guin to produce and score her concept-album Rigel 9 (1985), about a team of human interstellar explorers and their encounter with Alien life on the titular planet; a work that is musically pleasant although narratively underpowered. An Island in the Moon (1986) provides attractively musical accompaniment to William Blake's 1784 burlesque satire with the same title. Bedford's cantata version of Arthur C Clarke's The City and the Stars (November 1948 Startling as "Against the Fall of Night"; 1953; exp vt 1956) was performed in 2001 with Clarke himself reading a narration between movements. [AR]

David Vickerman Bedford

born London: 4 August 1937

died 1 October 2011


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