As a composer, Murray Adaskin has always favoured instrumental music. He has amassed an impressive catalogue of orchestral works, but the majority of his music is scored for soloists and small ensembles, with special emphasis on stringed instruments.

The five works on this programme, all written between 1985 and 1996, reveal a composer still astonishingly creative in his eighties and nineties, and still closely involved with the musical life of his community: all five were either commissioned or composed with specific local events and performers in mind.

Adaskin places a high value on craftsmanship. His music is polished and orderly, technically proficient, set in simple, naturally evolving forms. Other characteristics of the Adaskin style recur again and again in these pieces. But to go on would be to undermine the composer’s intentions, for Adaskin has an aversion to musical analysis, not because his music doesn’t repay close scrutiny, but because his goal is simply to make music that is entertaining, moving, and readily accessible.

1. Octet for Strings

2. Violin Sonata No.2

3. Divertimento No.7

4. Vocalise No. 1

5-7. String Quintet