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Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic/ MacMillan MacMillan Series Vol 3 (Challenge Classics)

Any programme that features James MacMillan's Tuireadh, the composer's haunting lament for those killed in and bereaved by the Piper Alpha disaster, is going to be poignant.

There is, however, more than one degree of poignancy in this third volume of works by MacMillan for chamber orchestra and soloists, played with intensity by the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, directed by MacMillan, one of the orchestra's principal guest conductors: it's below, in my closing sentence. This is a strong programme, powerfully played, with a manic drive to violinist Linus Roth's performance of the mad reel in From Ayrshire and beautiful purity in Julius Berger's account of Kiss On Wood, which has transferred eloquently to cello from violin. And there are bucketfuls of rage and anguish, as well as keening, in clarinettist Lars Wouters van den Oudweidjer's evocative version of Tuireadh, with the Amen-like reiterated cadence from the Dutch strings spreading balm. This fine orchestra, I understand, has now been axed in Dutch budget cuts - what a shame.

Michael Tumelty

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