David Bedford was originally commissioned to write Great Equatorial as part of the celebrations surrounding the renovation of the room containing the Great Equatorial Telescope at Greenwich Observatory, in London. Just ten minutes in length, his initial vision was subsequently expanded into six movements totaling a little over one hour, a vast and sweeping suite that defies ready categorization. The vastness and mystery of the universe, of course, were the inspirations behind Bedford's earlier "Star Clusters, Nebulae & Places in Devon." Musically, however, Great Equatorial steps far beyond those ambitions. Designed to be absorbed as opposed to simply listened to, the actual movements themselves are largely alike, built around many of the same musical components and themes. The differences between them, however, might be subtle but they are also extraordinarily effective -- the aural equivalent, in fact, of focusing a telescope on a distant planet and then slowly bringing it into focus, so that what was once blurred and indistinct is now readily defined. It's an unforgettable journey.