Sounds Parisian by David Bednall on Apple Music

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About David Bednall

English composer David Bednall writes music that draws both on his own background as an improvising organist and on various aspects of the English musical tradition, especially the choral.

Born in 1979 in Salisbury, England, Bednall attended the Sherborne boys' school and went on to the Queen's College, Oxford, where he became Organ Scholar, but had only a small involvement with composition. He conducted the school's Chapel Choir and took it on tour to France in 2000. That year he was appointed Organ Scholar at Gloucester Cathedral, and in that capacity he took composition lessons from David Briggs. He wrote his first significant work, Behold, O God Our Defender, on September 12, 2001, in memory of those killed the previous day. Bednall continued his career as an organist at Wells Cathedral between 2002 and 2007, rising from Sub Organist to Assistant Organist.

Accompanying the Wells Cathedral Choir, Bednall ventured into improvisation, winning prizes in that field and in organ performance at his examination for admission as a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists in 2002. With choirs at his disposal both as accompanist and as conductor, Bednall began to compose for them more prolifically. The Wells Cathedral Choir recorded a CD of his music, Hail, gladdening Light, for the Regent label, and his work became better known. Two large works, a Missa Sancti Pauli and a Requiem, were performed in London, and his Christmas cantata Welcome All Wonders was recorded by the Wells Cathedral Choir for the Signum label in 2011.

Bednall has listed as "personal idols" the composers Herbert Howells, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gerald Finzi, Richard Wagner, Giacomo Puccini, Richard Strauss, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Gustav Mahler. At the top of the list is Howells, who, he has said, "has been the biggest influence on me of any composer, and I love his work, not just for its famous qualities of sensuousness and beauty, but for its craft, skill, infinite shading and variety, and the fact that it can always move me." Bednall's Stabat mater has been performed in New York and his 40-voice motet Lux orta est iusto, written for performance alongside Thomas Tallis' Spem in alium, closed the 2015 Proms. His CD Sudden Light, appearing in 2017, collected his best-known shorter choral works. Bednall has won prize crossword pens from the Times and Telegraph newspapers. ~ James Manheim

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