Mirfin, Tim

The English bass, Timothy (Tim) Mirfin, graduated in Law from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was also a choral scholar. He studied singing at the Royal Academy of Music as a postgraduate scholar, followed by the National Opera Studio. As a principal artist for Welsh National Opera from 2001 to 2003, Tim Mirfin sang Don Pedro in Beatrice and Benedict, Publio in La Clemenza di Tito, Don Ferrando in L.v. Beethoven’s Leonore, Angelotti in Tosca, The Parson in The Cunning Little Vixen and Colline in La Boheme. Roles elsewhere have included Argante in George Frideric Handel’s Rinaldo for Grange Park Opera; Figaro in Le Nozze de Figaro under Sir Colin Davis; Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Aldeburgh Festival and in 2003/4, Collatinus (Rape of Lucretia) for Opera East, Sarastro (The Magic Flute) with Scottish Opera, Selim (Il Turco in Italia) at Buxton Festival and Truffaldino in Ariadne auf Naxos for WNO.

Davis, Sir Andrew

Sir Andrew
Born in 1944 in Hertfordshire, England, Andrew Davis studied at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar before taking up the baton. His diverse repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary, and his vast conducting credits span the symphonic and operatic and choral worlds. Sir Andrew is a great proponent of twentieth-century works including those by Janáček, Messiaen, Boulez, Elgar, Tippett, and Britten, in addition to the core symphonic and operatic composers.
With the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Davis has led concerts at the London Proms and on tour to Hong Kong, Japan, the US, and Europe. He has conducted all of the major orchestras of the world from the Chicago Symphony to the Berlin Philarmonic to the Royal Concertgebouw, and at opera houses and festivals throughout the world including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala and the Bayreuth Festival.
Since 2000, Sir Andrew Davis has served as Music Director & Principal Conductor of Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is the Conductor Laureate of the Toronto Symphony (having previously served as the Principal Conductor), the Conductor Laureate of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (having served as the 2nd longest running Chief Conductor since its founder, Sir Adrian Boult) and the former Music Director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
Image Credit: 
Dan Rest

Brabbins, Martyn

Artistic Director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music 2005-2007, he was Associate Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 1994-2005. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, a position which started in September 2009. After studying composition in London and then conducting with Ilya Musin in Leningrad, his career was launched when he won first prize at the 1988 Leeds Conductors' Competition. Since then Brabbins has regularly conducted all the major UK orchestras and is much sought-after in Europe, notably in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Scandinavia.   
Brabbins’ symphonic engagements have included appearances at London's  South Bank in subscription with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, his Tokyo debut, with the Tokyo Metropolitan (where he returns in 2011); and visits to the Netherlands Radio Chamber in the prestigious Matinee series, the Residentie Orkest, Salzburg Mozarteumorchester and Lahti Symphony.  He is a regular guest with the City of Birmingham Symphony, Halle and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, and appears several times each season with the BBC Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony orchestras in subscription and at the BBC Proms.

Bĕlohlávek, Jiří

The renowned Czech maestro Jiří Bĕlohlávek took up the position of Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in July 2006. He was Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony (1977-89) and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic (1990-1992).  He founded, and is now Music Director Laureate, of the Prague Philharmonia and has undertaken many tours with this ensemble, including a televised appearance at the Proms in 2004.
He appears regularly with major orchestras including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Vienna Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and NHK (Tokyo) Symphony. In North America, he conducts the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Detroit, Philadelphia, Dallas, WashingtonD.C., St. Louis and Minnesota. In his homeland, Jiří Bĕlohlávek was appointed President of the Prague Spring Festival in 2006.
recent highights include appearances at the Royal Opera House in a production of Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin, his debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, and appearances at the Opera de Paris (The Bartered Bride), The Metropolitan Opera (Eugene Onegin and Rusalka) and Glyndebourne Festival Opera for a new production of Dvorák Rusalka.
Image Credit: 
Clive Barda

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.

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

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.






'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 concieved 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 online


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.
Solo trumpet                  JONATHAN HOLLAND
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

Executive Producer for NMC    COLIN MATTHEWS

Cover image and graphic design FRANCOIS HALL


Doubles, The House that Jack Built (P) 2011 BBC

A Talisman (P) 2011 NMC Recordings Ltd

(C) 2011 NMC Recordings Ltd


Chester Novello
Catalogue number:
NMC D173
Release Date:
19 September 2011