James Wood Edition


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Steven Schick, James Wood,
Darmstadt Percussion Ensemble,
Cornwall Percussion Ensemble,
Clive Williamson, Paul Webster,
Eleanor Alberga, Helen Crayford (kbds)
John Whiting (sound engineer)

Wergo: WER 6194-2

Price: 15.00 EUR (including delivery)

Stoicheia is one of those rare, but very exciting pieces in which the attempt to build itself from first principles produces a work whose tremendous richness of listening experience enables it to communicate at very different levels... The experience of Stoicheia not only substantiates its conceptual grandeur, but it entrances the listener by the beauty of sound and its fascinating rhythms and timbres.

David Wright, The Musical Times; May 1991

Songs by the River

James Wood
Works for Percussion and Voices

Sara Stowe, soprano
James Wood, percussion
New London Chamber Choir
James Wood, conductor

Continuum: CCD 1037

Price: 15.00 EUR (including delivery)

Choroi kai Thaliai - a declamatory tour de force for soprano soloist, percussion and taped voices, describing yet another night of pagan festivities but with an exhilarating rhythmic vitality that is utterly compelling and, almost literally, heart-stopping. Choroi kai Thaliai proved to be an enthralling work...

Michael John White, The Guardian, 26 June 1982

Ho shang Yao ... appeared the more perfect achievement. Again the appeal is to an ancient culture, but now Chinese: Ho shang Yao is a setting of pre-Confucian poems in the original... The music is based on a quartertone-flavoured pentatonic scale... a totally successful means of achieving a genuinely new simplicity, a transparent clarity detached from any western tradition.

Paul Griffiths, The Times: 1 July 1986

Village Burial with Fire

  • Village Burial with Fire hear excerpt
  • Spirit Festival with Lamentations

Robert Van Sice,
Percussive Rotterdam

Mode Records: Mode 51

Price: 18.00 EUR (including delivery)

Percussive Rotterdam's performance of James Wood's Village Burial with Fire... a ritual composition which connects European and non-European traditions...was extraordinary.

---Heinz Zietsch, Darmstadter Echo

One of the greatest artists of his generation, Robert van Sice presented Spirit Festival with Lamentations...conceived as an ancestral pagan rite, it excites all the dramatic and expressive resources of the musicians. Superb!

---Martine Dumont & Thierry Lassence, La Libre Belgique

'Men from Rotterdam excel'...well played, as this was, it is irresistible

---Lynna Sedlak, Buffalo News

Two men meet...

  • Two men meet, each presuming the other to be from a distant planet
  • Phainomena
  • Venancio Mbande talking with the trees

Kuniko Kato, marimba
Steven Schick, percussion
New London Chamber Choir
Critical Band
James Wood, conductor

NMC: D044

Price: 20.00 EUR (including delivery)

James Wood is a distinctive presence on the British musical scene, and this disc offers the best opportunity yet to explore his challenging but never incoherent compositions. ...the quality of thought and the sensitivity to design as well as texture should reassure you that Wood is a real composer, as well as a fine performer, and the recordings could hardly be better.
The plan of Two men meet, to proceed from confrontation to reconciliation, could be simplistically schematic, but the subtlety of the interactions between soloist and orchestra makes this a consistently absorbing and appealing score. In Venancio Mbande talking with the trees, the blend of intricate thought and clear, purposeful structure is if anything even more satisfying, with a poetic quality to the writing that lingers in the mind.

The Gramophone, December 1997

Composer, conductor, virtuoso percussionist and inventor of percussion instruments, James Wood is an all-round musical explorer of a philosophical cast of mind yet with an ardent, Messiaen-like sensibility. He favours elaborate (often microtonal) but richly sensuous textures and grand, totalising structures. For him, each piece is an ambitious synthesis of music and the world: literally, in that he draws on sources from across the globe, as pointedly evidenced on this compliation by Venancio Mbande talking with the Trees, a concerto whose quarter-tone marimba soloist (Kuniko Kato) stands for the Mozambican timbila player mentioned in the title. In Two men meet, each presuming the other to be from a distant planet Steven Schick is the soloist in a 24-minute movement of fascinating and always right-sounding complexity, which becomes a Birtwistle-like scherzo in its latter part.

Paul Driver, The Sunday Times 1997

Crying bird, echoing star

also includes...

  • Gordon McPherson: Explore Yourself
  • Edward Dudley Hughes: The Sibyl of Cumae
  • Rowland Sutherland: Timeless Odyssey
  • Rolf Hind: The Horse Sacrifice

New Music Players, Roger Montgomery

London Independent Records: LIR003

Price: 15.00 EUR (including delivery)

James Wood employs 12 different birdsongs and star patterns from which to derive the melodic and harmonic elements of his piece. Flute and clarinet engage with violin and cello in an intricate discourse, the piano providing an enfolding resonance in the more inward passages - the two types of musical motion finding an equivocal accommodation in the closing minutes.

Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone, September 2003.

Razor-sharp performances.... Visionary....

The Independent

Svet Stoyanov
Percussive Counterpoint

  • Rogosanti

also includes...

  • Steve Reich: Electric Counterpoint
  • Svet Stoyanov:
    Improvisation for bulgarian tapan
  • Alejandro Vinao: Khan Variations
  • Eric Sammut: Four Rotations
  • Paul Lansky: Hop
  • Thierry De Mey: Musique de Table

Svet Stoyanov

Concert Artists Guild: cag-103

Available from www.itunes.apple.com


  • De telarum mechanicae
    (On the mechanics of weaving)

    hear excerpt

also includes...

  • Jukka Tiensuu: nemo
  • Roderik de Man: Chromophores
  • Luca Francesconi: Islands

Insomnio, Ulrich Pöhl

Encora: enc-011

Available from www.encora.de

Carlo Gesualdo

  • Sacrae Cantiones (1603)
    Liber secundus

    Reconstructed by James Wood

Vocalconsort Berlin, James Wood

Harmonia Mundi: HMC 902123

Available from www.harmoniamundi.com

...one of the most astounding reconstructions of our time...

Die Zeit - 7 March 2013

Winner of the ECHO-Klassik Prize 2013 (Choir Recording of the Year)


Orchestra | Large Ensemble | Chorus and Ensemble

Chamber | Instrumental | Unaccompanied Voices

Voices and Electronics | Voice and Ensemble | Voice and Percussion

Percussion Ensemble | Solo Percussion

Chronological List of Works

Music Store



Programme notes [pdf]