Brian Elias: The House That Jack Built

Brian Elias: The House That Jack Built

NMC Recordings
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The bold and dazzlingly inventive The House That Jack Built – inspired by the rumbustiousness, games and jeers of the playground – is coupled with the elaborate, intense Doubles – a large orchestral work commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra; the recording is completed with A Talisman, for bass-baritone and small orchestra, based upon Hebrew text inscribed on a silver 19th century amulet intended to protect against the Evil Eye and was given to Elias's mother in 1969 by her uncle, whose family emigrated from Kurdistan to Bombay in the middle of the 19th century.

Tim Mirfin bass-baritone
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Jiri Belohlávek, Martyn Brabbins, Sir Andrew Davis conductors




'These substantial, gutsy yet fastidious pieces ... attest a formidable mastery of the orchestra. Their manner and content are mostly turbulent, their craft imperturbable. The performances bring out the rich dark colours of Elias’s imagination' The Sunday Times

'The conviction of music-making is matched by the quality of sound...It goes without saying that opportunities to hear these pieces live will be rare – making their availability on disc the more welcome' BBC Music Magazine

'Elias is a wonderfully accomplished orchestral composer; every bar of these works has a sense of rightness, of every gesture and every texture being heard exactly as the composer conceived it ... pithy and perfectly judged' Guardian

‘Gothicism is alive and well in the churning, snarling, spectral, sometimes strikingly lyrical music of Brian Elias’ American Record Guide


Produced in association with BBC Radio 3


The House that Jack Built was recorded on 22 March 2002 at the Barbican Hall, London.
Orchestra leader MICHAEL DAVIS
Recording engineer NEIL PEMBERTON
Producer ANN McKAY

Doubles was recorded on 16 May 2009 at the Barbican Hall, London.
Orchestra leader STEPHEN BRYANT
Recording engineer NEIL PEMBERTON
Producer ANN McKAY

A Talisman was recorded at Studio 1, BBC Maida Vale on 27-28 January 2011.
Orchestra leader ANDREW HAVERON
Balance engineer SIMON HANCOCK
Assistant Recording Engineer ADELE CONLIN
Producer ANN McKAY

Tim Mirfin's language coach for A Talisman was Ruth Sonntag

Doubles, The House that Jack Built (P) 2011 BBC
A Talisman (P) 2011 NMC Recordings Ltd
(C) 2011 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue number: NMC D173
Release Date: 19 September 2011