Tonight, however, I was completely foxed. I was channel hopping and stumbled across a concert at the Barbican on BBC4 featuring the LSO accompanied by a huge choir. The music was amazing, with a visceral, primeval quality, as if it was cast from the raw materials of the earth. Brass chords surged and swelled, whilst the percussion section issued menacing rumbles and roars. And all the time, the choir sang of death and destruction, wreaked by an enigmatic group of gods called the Seven:
Seven are they, In the Ocean Deep seven are they, Evil are they, evil are they, Seven are they,Twice seven are they! By Heaven be ye exorcised! By Earth be ye exorcised.
The words were sang in Russian and the repetitive chanting of sem, sem, sem gave the music a hypnotic, ritualistic quality. I wondered which contemporary composer had written this powerful music. I thought it might be Sofia Gubaidulina, whose St John's Passion had transfixed me during a car journey to B&Q, but there was something very male about the music. I racked my brains for other likely contenders, but had to give up.
The music finished, the audience applauded and an announcer who looked about 12-years-old said that the music was by Prokofiev. I was amazed, particulary when I discovered that Seven, They Are Seven was an early work, first performed 90 years ago. The words are apparently from a Mesopotamian cuneiform from the 3rd century BC
I realise that this is probably of no interest to you (and thank you for reading this far), but this was a remarkable piece of music, quite unlike anything I've heard and I think it would also appeal to people who don't like classical music. Sadly, despite Prokofiev's stature as a composer, recordings of Seven seem to be thin on the ground.