James Wood - Cloud-Polyphonies, Tongues of Fire
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Label: NMC Recordings
Cat No: NMCD223
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 19th February 2016
Ear Massage Percussion Quartet
Yale Percussion Group
Robert Van Sice
Tongues of Fire (2001) is a work for symphonic chorus and percussion quartet, written for the 140th anniversary of the Yale Glee Club. Conscious of the enormous tradition of American university Glee Clubs, and the part that gospel and spiritual music has played in it, Wood emphasizes America’s rich cultural diversity using the story of Pentecost. The central text from the Acts of the Apostles is set in various languages, starting in Latin-American Spanish and splintering off into Hebrew, Maori, Jamaican English, Latin, Hungarian, Russian, German and French. A quartet of oil drums, plus cowbells, gongs, guiros and metal rods provide percussive timbral richness and power. These combine with a variety of vocal styles, including chanting, singing, hissing and whistling, to give the work a tribal feel.
Percussion sextet Cloud-Polyphonies explores the movements of large formations of organisms - whether animals, insects, birds, fish, water, steam or crowds of human beings. The first movement, Starlings, is written for six marimbas and woodblocks, the second, Clouds, for metal instruments and prepared piano, and the third, Buffalo, for drums, simantras and bullroarers.
James Wood studied composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris before going to Cambridge as an organ scholar, and
to the Royal Academy of Music in London to study conducting and percussion. In the 1990s he founded the London Centre for Microtonal Music and its ensemble, Critical Band, and was active in the dissemination of microtonality on many levels. He was also professor of percussion at Darmstadt.
1-4 Tongues of Fire
MDR Rundfunkchor · Ear Massage Percussion Quartet · James Wood conductor
Yale Percussion Group · Robert Van Sice director
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