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David Bedford - Star Clusters, Nebulae & Places in Devon / The Song of the White Horse CD (album) cover


David Bedford


Crossover Prog

3.14 | 7 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Even though the recording is from 1983, both pieces on this disc were in fact written in 1971.

''Star Clusters, Nebulae & Places in Devon'' is a piece for choir and brass ensemble. The lyrics sung by the choir are exactly what the title refers to: the names of star clusters, of nebulae, and of prehistoric sites located in Devon. The music goes through many different moods, but remains firmly in the avantgarde vein. The choral arrangements are, at times, reminiscent of Ligeti's ''Lux Aeterna'' (the piece that was used in ''2001 - A Space Odyssey''). While somewhat more accessible than, say, ''Star's End'', it's certainly not easy listening.

''The Song of the White Horse'', on the other hand, is definitely the more accessible of the two pieces on this disc, getting at times very melodic, vaguely mediaeval or folkish while retaining an experimental nature; rather than avantgardistic, I would perhaps describe this as a postmodern composition. It utilizes a more diverse instrumentation, with orchestra, choir, a female soloist, and Mike Ratledge and the composer himself on synthesizers and organ.

In the words of the composer, the piece is ''a musical evocation of the Ridgeway footpath between Wayland's Smithy (a stone-age burial chamber) and the White Horse of Uffington, and culminates in a setting of words from 'The Ballad of the White Horse' by G.K. Chesterton, celebrating King Alfred's conclusive victory over the Danes in the 19th century.''

Mike Oldfield acts as producer and engineer on both tracks, but does not appear as musician this time. Open-minded Oldfield fans and prog fans in general may find ''The Song of the White Horse'' a rewarding listen; I can't really think of anything it can comfortably be compared to as it's neither hardcore avantgarde like some of Bedford's recordings, nor really classifiable as prog like others. Rating this disc in a prog context once again proves difficult, especially as the two cuts on it are quite different from each other, but since I guess it can't really be said to be an ''essential'' addition to a prog collection, I'm going with a three-star rating.

splyu | 3/5 |


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