Stephen Pettitt: Evening Standard
Xenakis and Wood
Yet again, the late night Prom put the earlier one, excellent though it was, in the shade. Indeed, the New London Chamber Choir's programme, under James Wood's direction, was a highlight of the season. It began with two works, Nuits and Idmen A and B, by Iannis Xenakis, who died two years ago.
Nuits (1968) a powerful, raw music of primal howls, dedicated to four names - and all unnamed - political prisoners, was performed magnificently by 12 of this amateur choir's finest. The entire chorus, the Budapest-based Amadinda Percussion Group, and, in two movements, a hissing and heavy breathing audience, then gave Idmen A and B, a fusing of two works, composed in 1985, which contemplate a passage about truth and deceit from Hesiod's Theogony.
The final offering was the world premiere of Wood's own Tongues of Fire, whose text (in eight languages) concerns the Holy Spirit and spirits in general and which itself seemed fired with spiritual fervour. Here, choir and percussionists excelled themselves.