DAVID BEDFORD RECORDER CONCERTO
Written for Piers Adams in 1994, David Bedford's Recorder Concerto has become a classic in the instrument's repertoire, a work synonymous with Adams' bravura musicianship. He has performed it over 30 times with orchestras across the world, to rapturous critical acclaim (his recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra hailed in BBC Music Magazine as 'beyond virtuosity into the realms of improbability...'), winning over many new audiences both to the stratospheric technical and expressive possibilities of the recorder and to Bedford's highly engaging musical language.
The concerto is scored for solo recorder (playing five different instruments from bass to sopranino - and occasionally two at once!) and 9-part strings. Stylistically it fits loosely into the category of 'post-minimalism', but contains varying elements from rock-like riffs to Vivaldi-esque arpeggios to pastoral English lyricism. The overall effect is a fantastically well-crafted, exhilarating musical journey which appeals to all tastes, and finishes in a breathtaking sprint to the inevitable conclusion!
Amongst the orchestras who have invited Adams to perform this work are the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, City of London Chamber Orchestra, English Sinfonia, Orchestra of St Johns, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and the Lapland Chamber Orchestra. Following his 2019 performance with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (USA) the newspaper critic wrote: "A world-class virtuoso of absolutely astonishing technical skill.... Over a blanket of quiet string haze, [the concerto] puts the soloist through mind-boggling solo work that displays the successive ranges through the members of the recorder family, from bass to sopranino. At least twice, the soloist must play two instruments at the same time... the flashy technical display is extraordinary."
The concerto has been championed in particular by the British conductor Crispin Ward, who has also written his own fabulous Celtic Concerto for Adams. Adams and Ward can appear as an attractive soloist-conductor package, performing either or both concertos in a variety of different programmes - details on the Celtic Concerto page.