On April 19, members of Britten Sinfonia, with Nicholas Daniel as soloist, will give the premiere of Elias’ new Oboe Quintet at the Wigmore Hall, London. The Quintet, which has been commissioned by the Wigmore Hall with support of André Hoffmann, president of Fondation Hoffmann, a Swiss grant-making foundation, will subsequently be performed in Norwich, Cambridge and Southampton.
The piece lasts around 20 minutes and is cast in five movements, played without a break. “The main ideas for the work, both melodic and harmonic, are stated in the first few bars and the rest of the piece develops organically from this material,” says the composer. “Motifs, melodies and harmonies are ‘recollected’ throughout, often in new contexts, to provide a sense of unity.”
The premiere coincides with the release of a new recording of Elias’ vocal and instrumental music by NMC Recordings. The centrepiece of the disc is Electra Mourns, a setting of texts from Sophocles’ Electra. The theme continues in Geranos, a dramatic and rhythmic ensemble piece inspired by a ritual ‘crane dance’ associated with Theseus, the mythical king of Athens. These works are contrasted with two song cycles, the John Clare setting Meet me in the green glen and Once did I breathe another's breath. The album (NMC D235) is released on April 21.
Brian Elias Oboe Quintet premiere performances
April 19 (1pm) Wigmore Hall, London
April 21 (1pm) St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich
April 22 (8pm) Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton
April 25 (1pm) West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
Nicholas Daniel, oboe
Jacqueline Shave, violin
Miranda Dale, violin
Clare Finnimore, viola
Caroline Dearnley, cello