Brian Elias: Electra Mourns
Susan Bickley, mezzo-soprano — Roderick Williams, baritone
Iain Burnside, piano — Nicholas Daniel, cor anglais
Psappha - Nicholas Kok conductor
Britten Sinfonia - Clark Rundell conductor
Brian Elias is the recipient of two British Composer Awards; the first in 2010 for the orchestral work Doubles, which was commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the second in 2013 for Electra Mourns.
Forthcoming commissions include a Cello Concerto for Natalie Clein.
The title work on this new album by Brian Elias sets text from Electra, a 5th Century BC play by the Greek dramatist Sophocles. It is sung in the original ancient Greek by mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley, accompanied by cor anglais and string orchestra, and recounts the tale of Electra and the vengeance that she and her brother Orestes take on their mother and stepfather following the murder of their father.
Continuing Elias's fascination with ancient Greece, Geranos is a dramatic and rhythmic ensemble piece inspired by a ritual crane dance associated with Theseus, the mythical king of Athens.
In contrast, the two song cycles on this album are set to texts by English poets. Meet me in the Green Glen for unaccompanied solo voice is a setting of five John Clare poems, here performed by both Susan Bickley and Roderick Williams, and Once did I breathe another's breath for baritone and piano was commissioned for the 2013 Ludlow Weekend of English Song; the poems (some anonymous) were all written in the first half of the seventeenth century.
1. I. 7'05
2. II. (Adonidia) 6'03
3. III. 6'55
Psappha Nicholas Kok conductor
Meet me in the Green Glen*
4. I. Meet me in the Green Glen 3'13
5. II. Song 7'11
6. III. Now is Past 3'12
7. IV. Love's Pains 1'92
8. V. Hespeius 2'56
Roderick Williams baritone (I, III, V)
Susan Bickley mezzo-soprano (II, IV)
Once did I breathe another's breath
9. I. Dost ask my dear 3'30
10. II. Dear, let us two each other spy 1'47
11. III. Now sleep, bind fast the flood of air 3'44
12. IV. Once did my thoughts both ebb and flow 2'26
13. V. There comes a night 2'38
Roderick Williams baritone lain Burnside piano
14. Electra Mourns 18'44
Susan Bickley mezzo-soprano Nicholas Daniel cor anglais
Britten Sinfonia Clark Rundell conductor
Total timing: 66'07
* As these songs were written to be sung by any voice, Brian Elias chose this combination,
sung in turn by baritone and mezzo-soprano, for the CD.
The complete song cycle is also available to download in separate versions for single voice.
NMC Recordings are distributed in Australia by
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Telephone (03) 9432 4149 ~ Facsimile (03) 9444 6879