Brian Elias has won a 2013 British Composer Award in the vocal award category for his ‘breathtakingly powerful’ work Electra Mourns. Scored for mezzo-soprano, cor anglais and string orchestra, this 18 minute scena (in the original ancient Greek) sets a speech from Electra, a 5th Century BC play by the great dramatist Sophocles. On awarding the prize, the judges said: ‘This is a truly marvellous work: mesmerising and breathtaking.From the opening notes, it sustains a terrific level of intensity and gets inside one of the great dramas of Western culture. Both vocal and instrumental writing is full of skill, artistry, maturity and creative wisdom. The pairing of voice and cor anglais has an exquisite beauty.’
The work was premiered in August 2012 at the Cadogan Hall, London, by Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano), Nicholas Daniel (cor anglais) and the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Clark Rundell, as part of the BBC Proms 2012. On reviewing the concert the Daily Telegraph reported that it ‘...stole the show as a moving study of madness and remorse.’The score can be viewed online here and is also available to buy from Musicroom here.