CHORUS AND ENSEMBLE
Missa: In Memoriam Lili Boulanger (1975/76)|
for solo soprano, double choir, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones and organ
Duration: 30 minutes
First Performance: October 1976, London
Texts: Requiem Mass (Latin), Francis Jammes (French)
for solo baritone, solo percussion, wind ensemble, percussion ensemble, chorus
picc, 2 ob, Eb clt, Bb clt, contrabass clt, contrabassoon, 2 hn, tpt, tbn, 6 perc.
Text: Plato (Ancient Greek)
Duration: 33 minutes
Written on an Arts Council Bursary (1985)
First performance: July 1986, Union Chapel, Almeida Festival, London
David Wilson-Johnson, Robyn Schulkowsky, Endymion Ensemble,
New London Percussion Ensemble, New London Chamber Choir/Wood
for eighteen voices,
seventeen instruments and tape
flt (picc), alto flt (bass flt/picc),
ob (ob d'amore), Bb clt (Eb/bass),
tpt, tbn, bass tbn, vln, vla,
cimbalom, 2 hp, 2 kbd, 3 perc.
18 solo voices
(3S, 3Ms, 3A, 3T, 3Bar, 3B).
Tape and amplification.
Duration 23 minutes
Written on an Arts Council Bursary (1991),
to mark the debut of the Centre for Microtonal Music.
First performance: March 1992,
St. Giles, Cripplegate, Barbican, London
New London Chamber Choir,
'...reached out towards the elemental in music of sustained force and colour, a virtuoso deployment of the fixed and free.'
Robert Macock, The Independent, 12.3.92
'The extreme, pungent contrasts in Phainomena are as theatrical as could be - but dramatic music, not music theatre. It sounds like a composer discovering his own cogent means to a strong original purpose, rich and strange.'
David Murray, Financial Times, 18.11.93
'It was James Wood who, in his Phainomena showed that freeing music from familiar structures can allow the listener to experience different, possibly deeper layers of meaning. You didn't have to read a word of his note to be carried along by the tide of invention. Not all the musical activity was audible, but the sound was captivating right through to its beautifully judged ending.'
Stephen Johnson, The Independent, 20.3.93
'Like other recent works from this composer, Phainomena is a ritual that, in its pacing and gesture, seems designed first and foremost for the performing participants. But as it gathers steam, whirling through the zodiac with note patterns charted from the sky and chanting in ancient Greek, it develops and sustains an almost Varèse-like energy and a frenzy of colour.'
Paul Griffiths, The Times, 12.3.92
Tongues of Fire (2001 - revised 2014)|
for large chorus and percussion quartet
Text: Biblical, Hildegard von Bingen, J.B. Moreton
Duration: 20 minutes approx.
Commissioned by the Yale Glee Club, David H. Connell, director, in honor of their 140th Anniversary, and to the memory of W. Gray Mattern
First performance: 8 September 2003, Royal Albert Hall, BBC Proms, London
Amadinda Percussion Group, New London Chamber Choir, James Wood
|Composed for large choir and a quartet of percussionists, the piece is a multifaceted reflection of the Pentecost, created through texts, liturgies and musical traditions drawn from all over the world, from Jamaica to New Zealand. The piece creates a textural kaleidoscope, from minimalist riffs to spectralist swoops and slides. At the centre of the soundworld are four oil drums played by the percussionists - instruments that create a dazzling variety of resonances, and which inspire the richness of the rest of the piece. Despite its chaotic piling-up of musical material, Tongues of Fire speaks with clarity and immediacy, and the New London Chamber Choir delighted in its sonic diversity. |
Tom Service, The Guardian: September 10, 2003
for twelve voices, two clarinets, viola da gamba and accordion
Duration: 35 minutes
Commissioned by Vocalconsort Berlin with funds from Ernst von Siemens Stiftung
First Performance: 7 November 2015, Parochialkirche, Berlin
Vocalconsort Berlin, John Corbett, Heather Roche, Alison Crum, Veli Kujala, conducted by the composer
Texts: Lamentations of Jeremaiah; contemporary reports and blogs about recent atrocities in Egypt
for mixed chorus, percussion quartet and piano
Duration: 35 minutes
Commissioned by RIAS Kammerchor
First Performance: 11 March 2017, Philharmonie Kammermusiksaal, Berlin
RIAS Kammerchor, Amadinda Percussion Group, Philip Mayers, piano, conducted by the composer
Texts: Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (set in Persian)
Oratorium for speaking soloists, singing soloists, mixed chorus, seven saxophones and organ
Duration: 80 minutes
Commissioned by Collegium Vocale Gent
First Performance planned in September 2023
Collegium Vocale Gent, Blindman Sax, conducted by the composer
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Programme notes [pdf]