• Emily Howard
  • Elliptics (2022)
    (for solo soprano, solo counter tenor and orchestra)

  • Peters Edition Limited (World)

Commissioned by the BBC Philharmonic. Supported by PRiSM, the Centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music, funded by the Research England fund Expanding Excellence in England (E3).

First performed by Claire Booth (soprano), Hugh Cutting (countertenor) and the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Vimbayi Kaziboni on 29th October 2022 at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

  • S,Ct + 2(II:pic).2.0(II:bcl)+2bb-cl.2(II:cbn)/0+4f-hn.0+2bb-tpt.2+btbn.1/timp.2perc/str( recomm.)
  • Soprano, Countertenor
  • 24 min
  • Michael Symmons Roberts

Programme Note

Elliptics (2022), for soprano, countertenor and orchestra, is a setting of a poem with the same name by Michael Symmons Roberts. The poem began with an experiment in form, arising out of conversations between poet and composer, to create underlying patterns in words and music rooted in numbers. The poem ultimately changed in the making, in response to the death of Michael’s mother, Iris, in summer 2021. Although still built on elements of its original structure – patterns of and references to the number eleven – Elliptics became an elegy for Iris, a poem about love and death – what becomes of love beyond death, what we hope will survive. Emily’s music takes inspiration from those themes of love and loss, and from the multiple meanings of the title: elliptic – “relating to or having the shape of an ellipse”; “relating to or resulting from ellipsis”; the related (by sound) number eleven as well as the word “elision”. Musical parameters are elliptic by design and the form of the work takes inspiration from the opening line ‘Full-tilt towards infinity’. Finally, Elliptics is a piece about a common and exceptional experience. Everyone loses people. Everyone ends up as the person being lost.

Emily Howard & Michael Symmons Roberts, August 2022


Elliptics recorded by Claire Booth and BBC Philharmonic (Delphian)




More Info

  • Emily Howard, Two new recordings and a World Premiere
    • Emily Howard, Two new recordings and a World Premiere
    • 29th September 2023
    • This week sees the launch of The Anvil, a New Recording of Orchestral Works and the World Premiere of Deviance for piano solo and multimedia and featured in Zubin Kanga: Cyborg Pianist for NMC Recordings. Both albums launch on 29 September.