Founded in Manchester by the pianist and conductor Charles Hallé in 1858, The Hallé is Britain's longest established permanent professional symphony orchestra; its conductors include such distinguished figures as Hans Richter, Sir Hamilton Harty and Sir John Barbirolli.

The Hallé's family of ensembles includes the Hallé Choir - founded alongside the orchestra in 1858 - the Hallé Youth Choir, Children's Choir and Youth Orchestra; its pioneering education programme generates over 60 projects a year.

In 1996, the Hallé moved to its new home, The Bridgewater Hall, where it presents over 70 concerts a year. Making over 40 appearances annually throughout the rest of Britain, the Hallé attracts large and enthusiastic audiences both in Manchester and beyond

Sir Mark Elder became Music Director in 2000. In 2011, the Hallé and the BBC Philharmonic were awarded the South Bank Sky Arts Award for their performance of Mahler's Eighth Symphony; the Hallé have previously won the South Bank Show Classical Music Award for collaborations with the BBC Philharmonic, the RNCM and the CBSO.

In 2003 the Hallé launched its own CD label: its recordings of Wagner's Götterdämmerung, and Elgar's Violin Concerto with Thomas Zehetmair have both won Gramophone Awards.

Elder, Sir Mark

Sir Mark

Sir Mark Elder is Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra, and one of Britain's most successful conductors. He works regularly with the world's leading symphony orchestras, and enjoys particularly close associations with the London Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.  He has been principal guest conductor for the CBSO, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the London Mozart Players. Mark Elder has for many years conducted at the BBC Proms, and has twice let the internationally televised Last Night.  His other television works include films on the lives of Verdi and Donizetti.

As Music Director of the English National Opera, he led the company on successful tours of the USA and Russia, attracting international acclaim.  He appears regularly in all the major opera houses of the world, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera New York, and the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich.

In 2003 the Hallé launched it's own recording label, and the first releases, under Mark Elder's direction, have met with great critical acclaim.  He has won an Olivier award for his work at ENO, and was the Royal Philharmonic Society's Conductor of the Year in 2006.

BBC Symphony Orchestra

BBC Symphony Orchestra

The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since its inception in 1930, and as the flagship orchestra of the BBC provides the backbone of the BBC Proms with at least a dozen concerts each year, including the First and Last Nights. Strongly committed to twentieth-century and contemporary music, it has given the premiere of more than 1,000 works by composers such as Bartók, Britten, Hindemith, Holst, Stravinsky and Shostakovich, and more recently has premiered BBC commissions by Simon Bainbridge, Jonathan Dove, Michael Nyman and Sir John Tavener among others. Its annual season of concerts as Associate Orchestra of the Barbican includes a weekend each January focusing upon a single composer from the twentieth or twenty-first century, most recently James MacMillan, Elliott Carter and Sofia Gubaidulina.

Jiří Bĕlohlávek took up the post of Chief Conductor in July 2006 and David Robertson was appointed Principal Guest Conductor in 2005. The BBC SO works frequently with Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis and Artist-in-Association John Adams. All concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and a number are televised, giving the BBC Symphony Orchestra the highest broadcast profile of any orchestra in the UK. The BBC SO is committed to innovative education work, with ongoing projects including the BBC SO Family Orchestra and Music Intro, introducing families to concert-going.

The BBC SO has appeared on 34 of NMC’s CDs, including the best-selling recording of Elgar’s Third Symphony.

Pons, Josep

Regarded as the leading Spanish conductor of his generation, Josep Pons has built strong relationships with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and BBC Symphony Orchestra — the latter including several appearances at the BBC Proms. In addition to continuing these relationships, the 2017/18 season will see Pons return to BBC Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Sinfónica de Galicia. He will also have new collaborations with Tokyo Symophony Orchestra and Suzhou Symphony Orchestra as well as Festival Casals and Klavier-Festival Ruhr.
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Igor Cortadellas
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BBC Symphony Orchestra
Josep Pons conductor
Hallé Children's Choir

Sir Mark Elder conductor

Both pieces on this album were inspired by scientific ideas about the world we live in. Title track A Brief History of Creation, commissioned by The Hallé Concerts Society for its Children's Choir, is a fantastic romp through 14 billion years of history, from cell division (the choir reduced to one single, tiny voice) to dinosaurs, sharks, monkeys and finally to man. The Guardian said of its premiere in 2016 'Dove has a remarkable aptitude for writing music that is challenging to sing, stimulating to listen to, yet simple to remember. The outstanding Hallé Children’s Choir covered almost 14 billion years entirely from memory'. Inspiration for the piece was sparked by a visit to a James Turrell art installation."It gave me the feeling of looking through space to the first stars: it started children’s voices singing in my mind’s ear, surrounded by twinkling percussion. I found myself wondering about the beginning of the universe ... I thought it would be fun to sing about the birth of the Earth and the beginning of life", Dove explains. Dove and the librettist Alasdair Middleton picked "the best bits of the story" and the children perform it on this live recording with gusto.

Gaia Theory was inspired by a trip Dove took to the Arctic – a project called Cape Farewell, organised to allow artists to witness climate change first-hand. Dove says the experience woke him up to the speed and scale of changes taking place: on return, he wondered how it might be possible 'to write about this without finger-wagging'. Dove turned to the work of scientist James Lovelock, who developed the idea that the Earth behaves as a self-regulating organism, which always maintains a balance favourable for life. Lovelock himself describes this relationship as a dance, making it natural for Dove to set to music. The resulting piece is a celebration of the resilience of life.



'[A] superb performance from the Hallé Children's Choir who sing as if this was the most natural piece in the world, despite the complex concepts, tricky textures and large scale. Richly vivid works ... I felt that they couldn't help but put a smile on your face' Planet Hugill

'[The music is] ... shimmery, frantic, doom laden and meditative [and] engages beautifully with the text' OperaRamblings

'James Lovelock's concept of the earth as a self-regulatory organism facilitating life is the ideal basis for this high-octane 'concerto for orchestra' affording full vent to Dove's post-minimalist urgings.' Gramophone

‘A splashy, technicolour portrayal of ‘the birth of Earth’’ BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

'clever, engaging and enchanting music … the recorded sound is excellent' Fanfare

Official Charts


The Hinrichsen Foundation

With thanks to The Hinrichsen Foundation for supporting NMC’s Hallé Series through its New Initiatives programme.


A Brief History of Creation was recorded live at Bridgewater Hall on 19 June 2016

STEVE PORTNOI Recording Engineer & Producer
(P) 2018 NMC Recordings
© 2018 NMC Recordings


Gaia Theory was recorded by the BBC at the BBC Proms 2014 at Royal Albert Hall on 28 July 2014

CHRISTOPHER ROUSE Recording Engineer

ANN McKAY Recording Producer
(P) 2014 BBC
© 2018 NMC Recordings

Edition Peters
Catalogue number:
NMC D233
Release Date:
21 September 2018