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Brian Elias

Publisher: Chester Music

The Judas Tree (1991)
commissioned by the Royal Opera House
Chester Music Ltd
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Year Composed
38 Minutes

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Programme Note
Brian Elias The Judas Tree (1991)

The score of The Judas Tree is part symphony, part music drama – but above all an abstract orchestral structure expressed in terms of movement and dance. The ballet was
originally choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan.

  • Ensemble
    Royal Ballet and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Opus Arte:
  • Ensemble
    The Royal Ballet; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Irek Mukhamedov, Dancer; Leanne Benjamin, Dancer
    Barry Wordsworth
    NVC Arts for Channel 4 :
  • 24 OCT 2017
    Royal Opera House, London
    The Royal Ballet; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Koen Kessels, conductor

    Other Dates:
    26,27 October; 1 November - Royal Opera House, London
  • 23 MAR 2010
    Royal Opera House, London
    Royal Ballet
    Barry Wordsworth, conductor

    Other Dates:
    24,30,31 March; 14,15 April - Royal Opera House, London
  • 02 MAY 2003
    Royal Opera House, London
    Royal Ballet

    Other Dates:
    3,8,9,14 May - Royal Opera House, London
  • 29 APR 2003
    Royal Opera House, London

    Other Dates:
    30 April - Royal Opera House, London

Elias's fascinating score, including unusual insstruments that give a gamelan flavour, is dramatic and atmospheric...
David Dougill, The Sunday Time,28/03/2010
... fuelled by Brian Elias's savage score, its intricate web of betrayal, provocation and despair is conveyed through steps which are both beautiful and violent at the same time.
Sarah Crompton, The Telegraph,25/03/2010
Brian Elias wrote this apocalyptic score at MacMillan's request, only loosely on the theme of betrayal.
Ismene Brown,,20/03/2010
The chief virtues of Brian Elias’s score for MacMillan’s new ballet are its rhythmic variety and flexibility and its rich colouring…Elias has produced a powerful piece of music that leads to strong dancing.
John Percival, The Times,30/03/1992
Brian Elias’s score is paradoxically attractive for so harrowing a work, offering, perhaps, some hope of redemption.
Jann Parry, The Observer,29/03/1992
The music is a commissioned score by Brian Elias, moodily atmospheric and full of jagged transitions, effectively suiting the theme.
Nicholas Dromgoole, Daily Telegraph,22/03/1992
Brian Elias’s score for The Judas Tree is a sustained and often striking achievement, far more direct in its imagery than his earlier orchestral works. Given a totally free hand by MacMillan, Elias has produced a continuously unfolding span of music, whose events were apparently informed by a private scenario of the composer’s own devising, but one which makes perfectly coherent sense as an abstract musical argument. With a five-part structure containing a set of variations, fully worked slow movement and a tumultuous coda which pulls together many of the musical threads, there is more than a hint of a latter day symphony behind The Judas Tree. It is a feeling enhanced by the carrying-over of thematic shards from one section to the next binding the structure ever tighter. …There is plenty to absorb and ample substance to justify a transfer to the concert hall.
Andrew Clements, Financial Times,21/03/1992
…it contains some of the most startling and powerful movements MacMillan has made in ages. Brian Elias’s fabulous score, strongly textured, moving purposefully through passages of violence and calm, seems to have unleashed MacMillan’s dance imagination…
Judith Mackrell, The Independent,21/03/1992
Brian Elias’s score is powerful as drama atmospheric in sonorities, providing an urgent motor force for the action.
Clement Crisp, Financial Times,21/03/1992
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