• Brian Elias
  • Of Elutropia (1982)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by David Filmir with funds made available by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

It was given its first performance by Alexander Baillie at the Wigmore Hall on 3rd December 1984.

  • Cello
  • 9 min

Programme Note

“Elutropia is a Gemme, in colour greene, or grassie, in part coloured and bespotted with Purple speckes & bloud coloures vaines. This is a marvellous Jugler, for it will cause things object to be presented to our eies as it listeth. It being put into a Basan of water chaungeth to a mans eyesight the Sunne his beames, and giveth them a contrarie colour. Being also moved and beaten in the ayre maketh to appeare a bloudie Sunne, and darkneth the ayre in the maner of an Eclipse: and therfore it is called Eloutropia as you would say, the Sunne his enimie. There is of this name also a certain Hearbe which Enchaunters & Witches have oftentimes used and doe use, as also that above said, whereby they have mocked and deluded many, which by meanes and working and enchauntment, have so dazzled the beholders eies, that they have gone by them invisibly.”

John Maplet (died 1592)
A greene forest, or A natural historie 1567

This text from the clergyman, astrologer and natural historian John Maplet’s fascinating work in which he describes the properties of various gemstones is the inspiration for this piece. Without being programmatic, the music is constantly developed to try and mimic the way the shafts of light mutate through the gem, and the illusions and magic they create.

– Brian Elias, February 2021