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CLASSICAL RELEASES: John Casken Orion Over Farne, Concerto for Orchestra, Violin Concerto Sophia Jaffe (violin), Halle Orchestra/Stenz (NMC)

May 4, 2014

The indispensable label NMC, which specialises in music of living British composers, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a flurry of releases and a new partnership with the Halle. This John Casken recording, which coincides with a free download of his Apollinaire's Bird, is the first fruit. As so often in Casken's evocative but rigorous music, the inspiration for Orion Over Farne (1984-86) is Northumberland - the Farne Islands - as well as Greek myth. The other works, the Violin Concerto (1995), with Sophia Jaffe a rhapsodic and dazzling soloist, and the exuberant, multifaceted Concerto for Orchestra (2007), make for a disc of vitality and contrast, expertly played by the Halle under Markus Stenz. Fiona Maddocks

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Source: Observer (UK)