World premiere of Caskens Oboe Concerto Apollinaires Bird with the Hallé & Stéphane Rancourt, conducted by Sir Mark Elder in April 2014.
A live recording of the premiere of Apollinaires Bird will be speedily turned around and released a few days later as a free download by NMC for a limited time only. Details will be available via the Hallé and NMC websites and at the concert on the 10 April.
Casken's Golem (on NMC D113) won a Gramophone Award in 1991 and was Winner of the fi rst Britten Award for Composition
Composer John Casken celebrates his 65th birthday in 2014.
Caskens work is often inspired by the Northumberland countryside and coastline where he lives and in the symphonic poem Orion Over Farne (1984-86) he conjures up the magical atmosphere of the Farne Islands, drawing on the myth, landscape and poetry of area using rich orchestral sonorities. The Violin Concerto received its premiere at the BBC Proms in 1995 and is performed by the young German violinist Sophia Jaffé. It loosely takes narrative from Tolstoy's Father Sergius, a story reflecting some of the turmoil of human experience and the dilemmas arising from the decisions we make, and the things we do. Some of the musical material resurfaces in the Casken's opera Gods Liar. Concerto for Orchestra (2007) is Caskens most recent orchestral work, which was written for the National theater-Orchesters Mannheim and continues the composer's interest in two-movement forms that began with his Cello Concerto (1991), a recording of which is available on NMC D086.
These fine performances distil Casken's musical thought. The Violin Concerto, a classical structure, unfolds with immense fluency and some vehemence. Orion Over Farne evokes Basil Bunting. --Sunday Times 100 Best Records of the Year