Luke Bedford

Burning glass and loupe – Luke Bedford

Focussing and magnification, concentration and expansion – these are the sort of diametrically opposed dynamics that characteristically pervade Luke Bedford’s music. On the one hand his music demonstrates a pronounced interest in details and individual traditional gestures, in trouvailles from traditional sources; on the other hand it attains its specific tonal quality from the multiplication of these gestures and their transferral to a large apparatus. This – be it an orchestra or an ensemble – seems to be the ancestral home of Luke Bedford’s compositional fantasy, a laboratory in which he explores new tonal possibilities and fathoms the potential of the gestures and movement patterns they are based on. In By the Screen in the Sun at the Hill on the Gold (2008), for example, a simple arpeggio figure dominates the musical cross-section and the musical progress. Its manifold rhythmical variations and their multiple layers produce sometimes glistening, sometimes more subtle colour patches, before the figure finally loses its – in any case variable – physiognomy and becomes noise.
The musical happenings in this and in other works by Luke Bedford are invented directly from the instrumental apparatus: figure, timbre and harmony form a complex unity that makes the differentiation between primary and secondary parameters obsolete. And the elementary difference between horizontal and vertical, between line and chord dissipates under the predominantly timbre-oriented approach – as in the first pieces from Bedford’s song cycle Or Voit Tout En Aventure (2005/06): the instrumentalised tones of the vocal melody accumulate as they appear and become accompanying chords, sound and line are entwined. The same goes for Outblaze the Sky (2006), where the orchestral emphasis results from the potentialisation of a quasi-Mahlerian gesture. The immersion in captivating details, their reproduction and the derivation of large-scale, genuinely orchestral textures from them – this compositional technique brings forth the subjectless intensity, as it were, that makes Luke Bedford’s music so fascinating. Markus Böggemann