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Casken, John (Arthur)

Casken, John (Arthur)

English composer and teacher; b. Barnsley, Yorkshire, July 15, 1949. He was a student of Joubert and Dickinson at the Univ. of Birmingham (1967–71), and of Dobrowotski in Warsaw (1971–73), where he also profited from consultations with Lutoslawski. In 1973 he became a lecturer at the Univ. of Birmingham. He held a research fellowship at the Huddersfield Polytechnic in 1980. In 1981 he became a lecturer at the Univ. of Durham, he was made a prof, of music at the Univ. of Manchester in 1992. His first opera, Golem (London, June 28, 1989), received the first Britten Award for Composition. Casken’s early works were influenced by Lutostawski but he has since tended toward eclecticism with inspiration derived from landscape, poetry, and painting.

Works

DRAMATIC: Golem, opera (1986–88; London, June 28, 1989); Soul Catcher, ballet music (1988); God’s Liar, opera (2000). orch.:Tableaux des Trois Ages (1976–77; Birmingham, Sept. 27, 1977); Masque for Oboe and Small Orch. (Eton, Oct. 9, 1982); Erin for Double Bass and Small Orch. (1982–83; York, Jan. 22, 1988); Orion Over Fame (Glasgow, Sept. 17, 1984; rev. 1986); Maharal Dreaming (Darlington, May 12, 1989); Concerto for Cello and Chamber Orch. (1990–91; Wot-ersen, Germany, July 7, 1991); Darting the Skiff for Strings (1992–93; Cheltenham, July 13, 1993, composer conducting); Bougie-wougie, overture (1994); Violin Concerto (1994–95; London, July 26, 1995); Sortilège (1995–96; London, April 9, 1996); Distant Variations for Saxophone Quartet and Wind Orch. (1996; London, March 10, 1997); Après un silence for Violin and Chamber Orch. (1998; Newcastle, March 24, 1999; also for Violin and Chamber Ensemble or Piano). chamber:Jadu for 2 Cellos (1973); Kagura for 13 Wind Instruments (1972–73; Birmingham, May 1973); Music for the Crabbing Sun for Flute, Oboe, Cello, and Harpsichord (1974–75; London, Oct. 30, 1976); Music for a Tawny-Gold Day for Viola, Alto Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, and Piano (1975–76; Amsterdam, Sept. 1976); Thyme-haze for Treble Recorder and Piano (Birmingham, Oct. 29, 1976); Amarantos for 9 Players (1977–78; London, Dec. 12, 1978); A Belle Pavine for Violin and Tape (York, June 14, 1980; rev. 1992); 2 string quartets: No. 1 (1981–82; London, Feb. 2, 1982) and No. 2 (1993; Manchester, Feb. 5, 1994; rev. 1996); Piper’s Linn for Northumbrian Small Pipes and Tape (1983–84); Clarion Sea for Brass Ensemble (1984–85; Birmingham, May 5, 191985); Vaganza for Large Ensemble (St. Albans Festival, July 12, 1985); Salamandra, fire-haunt for 2 Pianos (Huddersfield, Nov. 20, 1986); Piano Quartet (1989–90; Birmingham, Nov. 24, 1990; rev. 1997); Cor d’oeuvre for Horn and Ensemble (Manchester, Nov. 4, 1993); Infanta Marina for Small Ensemble (1993–94; London, March 1, 1994; rev. 1997); A Spring Cadenza for Cello (1994; Sydney, July 31, 1995); Fanfare for 11 Brass Players (1995); Après un silence for Violin and Piano (1998; Dublin, Feb. 21, 1999; also for Violin and Chamber Orch. or Ensemble). vocal:la Or ana, Gaugin for Soprano and Piano (1978; Leicester, Jan. 18, 1979); Firewhirl for Soprano and 7 Players (1979–80; Bath Festival, May 25, 1980); To Fields We Do Not Know for Chorus (1983–84; BBC Radio 3, Oct. 24, 1985); The Land of Spices for Chorus (1990); A Gathering for Chorus (Cambridge, Dec. 24, 1991); Sharp Thome for 4 Solo Voices (1991–92; Durham, March 3, 1992); Still Mine for Baritone and Orch. (1991–92; London, July 31, 1992); Sunrising for Chorus (Durham, May 15, 1993); A Song of Chimes for Chorus and Organ (London, Oct. 27, 1996).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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