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Mark O'Connor's 'Double Violin Concerto' prompts the kind of mid-performance applause usually heard in a jazz club

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When Mark O'Connor and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg premiered his Double Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times described the incredible evening: The Nutcracker Suite dancing through warm summer air, a double violin concerto that prompted the kind of mid-performance applause usually heard in a jazz club. The mood definitely was looser than usual at Saturday night's Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert.

Written in 1997, and recorded live in 2003 in Denver's Boettcher Hall, the Double Violin Concerto is Mark O'Connor at his genre bending finest.  Under the baton of Maestra Marin Alsop (now at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), the soloists and the spectacular Colorado Orchestra create a musical experience that paints vivid pictures of intimate jazz clubs and glamorous dance floors.

The Denver Post wrote of a performance of the Double Concerto: Because the three-section piece keys so much on the soloists, it is essential to have first-rate performers with a real sense of showmanship. And the symphony got exactly that in O'Connor, a mean folk and jazz fiddler, and Salerno-Sonnenberg, a classical virtuosa with the ideal spunk, theatricality and versatility for such crossover music. They are perfectly matched ­ both incredible talents.

Rocky Mountain News weighed in calling the Double Violin Concerto a work that leaps, sighs an bounces with unstoppable energy. Boasting movements with titles such as "Swingin'" and "Midnight Bandstand Blues," the concerto owes a major debt to the jazzy slides of Stephane Grappelli. There are blue notes and syncopations aplenty in this 33-minute work "no shortage of smile- inducing riffing.

Also included on this stunning disc, a stunning duet featuring O'Connor and Salerno-Sonnenberg performing a duet arrangement of  O'Connor's beloved Appalachia Waltz, a composition first recorded with Yo-Yo Ma, and O'Connor's richly orchestrated version of Amazing Grace.

The Johnny Appleseed Suite, which completes this disc, is music Mark O'Connor originally composed for the Grammy-nominated children's recording Johnny Appleseed, which featured the narration of Garrison Keillor. O'Connor later orchestrated the four-movement suite for symphony orchestra and, in this version, adds his violin as one of the solo instruments. About the suite, the Rocky Mountain News wrote O'Connor's Johnny Appleseed Suite bubbles with naive charm and sweet nostalgia. Fine guest stints by pianist John Jarvis and guitarist-mandolinist Bryan Sutton.