Chance encounters in life are often some of the most wonderfully rewarding and joyful. My new work A Little Bit of Everything emerged from a very simple conversation one day with the fabulous arts producer Tammy Bedford. We’d stayed in contact since our first collaboration in Reading many years ago, and more recently had worked on Ripples and Roots: Rushmoor Stories, a project with London Sinfonietta in 2014. This was inspired by the stories and musical memories of Rushmoor residents in the UK. You can still listen back and freely download all of this music here if you wish:
So, one day in the midst of conversation I suddenly discovered that Tammy’s dad had in fact been the truly inspirational British composer David Bedford. I was astounded to learn this, vividly remembering listening to his release The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1975, a musical setting of the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge) when I was at school, encouraged by my music teacher. Via Bedford I was then led towards the music of Mike Oldfield and Kevin Ayres.
And as sometimes happens we conjured up a project which is now having its premiere at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, situated on the South Bank Centre. Originally intended to celebrate what would have been his 80th birthday instead it’s happening a year later, as not all dream dates work for everyone else 🙂
For me I recognised that Bedford’s work transcended genre and style and reached out to audiences in dynamic and refreshing ways. His approach was inspirational and I intend to present another way of listening to his enduring music through my own memories of hearing his works over the years. Rather than cover versions or arrangements of his music, A Little Bit of Everything searches inside the music for a way forward that offers a form of time-travel. The work will take the listener from past to present, drawing out the majestic and exploratory nature of Bedford’s compositions. It uses a combination of live instrumentation from the players of the BBC Concert Orchestra and live electronics, which rather playfully work both independently and together. That’s to say that both happen at the same time but aren’t guided by the other. The work closes with a more explicit use of Moog synthesisers, instruments that Bedford himself was using in some of his works at the time, stepping through time. So in some ways it will feature a little bit of everything!
The evening will be very special indeed, as the orchestra will dive into a concert of his music including Tubular Bells and Symphony No.1. Additionally the legendary guitarist Steve Hillage will be performing live as he had worked with Bedford and Oldfield on recordings back in the 1970s. For me that’s another magical connection as I first heard Hillage’s Rainbow Dome Musick at the Festival for Mind-Body-Spirit, Olympia London, 21–29 April 1979. My mum took me along to this mind expanding event, little anticipating what ultimate affect it would have on me!
So tickets are still available for this world premiere (Pick them up here) and I hope that some of you might make it along. I believe that the BBC Radio will also be recording the performances for later broadcast so here’s hoping you might get to hear this on air too. And of course if you are even more curious now to hear a clip here’s a minute to tease you.