MARK O'CONNOR (b.1961): Double Violin Concerto, Appalachia Waltz, Johnny Appleseed Suite.
Catalogue Number: 09K101
Label: OMAC Records
Description: O'Connor's concerto is a nice example of how well genre-crossing music can work when it remains completely true to its roots and is carried over into alternative territory with consummate skill. O'Connor is one of the world's leading jazz and folk-fiddlers; the concerto makes ample use of these idioms, the two soloists 'duelling' in an increasingly virtuosic face-off that you'd never encounter in the classical tradition, but often in jazz, with the orchestra contributing a sumptuous backdrop, a style created by the composer for this work, neither exactly imitating a big band sound nor remaining distractingly 'classical' in approach. The Johnny Appleseed suite was originally composed for folk ensemble; the composer's orchestral version retains characteristics of the original, with solos for various instruments against an orchestral background; the music is unassuming and instantly approachable, gently and warmly appealing. Mark O'Connor, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (violins), Colorado Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop.