Selected Chamber works
"...Elias has created something of powerful originality, a music that rejoices in its fast outer movements with appositely ebullient solos.”
The Times, 6 November, Stephen Pettit.
"...imaginative, concise and superbly tailored….the classical saxophone repertoire isn’t so rich in masterpieces that players can afford to ignore such a well-written and resourceful work.”
The Times, 4 July, Stephen Johnson.
Impromptu (2009) for flute, clarinet, and harp.
Commissioned by the Endymion ensemble, and premiered 06/06/2009 at King's Place, London.
Impromptu was written to honour the Endymion ensemble on its thirtieth birthday. I wrote the piece without any preparation or advance planning, allowing the music itself to lead me and to dictate its form, hence the title. Although the process of composition was extemporaneous, the piece turns out to fall into a simple binary form, in which the first section is elaborated upon and slightly extended in the second. The flute and clarinet play mostly together, performing variants of the same material, often in close rhythmic parallel, while the harp has an independent role in addition to commenting and accompanying.
Oboe Quintet (2016) for oboe and string quartet.
In this quintet, the oboe predominates and leads the musical development to a large extent, although the strings play more than just a supporting role. The main ideas for the work (both melodic and harmonic) are stated in the first few bars and the rest of the piece develops organically from this material. Motifs, melodies and harmonies are ‘recollected’ throughout, often in new contexts, to provide a sense of unity.
There are five movements played without a break (fast, slow, fast, slow, fast), the last being an extended coda. The first movement is moderately fast and is in a concertante style. It is followed by a slow and lyrical movement, and then a scherzo. The fourth movement is also slow, and the final section - the coda - returns to the music of the scherzo, gradually slowing down to a quiet and reflective conclusion.
Three Scherzi (2008) for violin and piano
These three pieces for violin and piano follow closely the Minuet and Trio form used so often for lighter movements in eighteenth and early nineteenth century sonatas and symphonies. In each piece, the Minuet is divided into two sections, and each section is repeated; similarly the Trio section is also divided into two repeated sections in which the music is generally more gently paced.
After the Trio, the minuet is played again immediately, this time without repeats. In these Scherzi I have chosen to use variants of the original of each section in most instances, rather than make exact repetitions. The first Scherzo lasts approximately 3 minutes, the second 6 minutes, and the third 2 minutes. Part of my interest and purpose in writing these pieces was to use an identical but highly elastic form for three pieces of different durations. I was also intrigued by the form’s historical development and evolution into the Scherzo, and I hope this explains the atmosphere and style of the music.
The material for each of the three pieces is different, although the harmonic and rhythmic worlds of each one are similar and, as a result, they do form a complete work in three movements. However, each of the three Scherzi may be played separately.
These three pieces were written between September 2004 and August 2007.