Critics unanimous in praise for 'Candlebird'

Critics unanimous in praise for 'Candlebird'
On 29th May 2011 Martin Suckling's stunning new song-cycle for Baritone and ensemble, Candlebird, burst onto the scene. It found excellent interpreters in the form of the London Sinfonietta and Nicholas Collon, and the critics were unanimous in their praise for this beautifully crafted piece. 

'Martin Suckling's Candlebird, five adaptions of verse by Don Paterson, benefiting from the powerful, clear diction of the baritone Leigh Melrose, and finding unsuspected subtleties in both Scottish vernacular music and quarter-tonal tuning, was simply staggeringly assured.'
The Sunday Times (Paul Driver), 5 June 2011
 
'But on the bright side there was the 30-year-old Martin Suckling's luxuriously imaginative song cycle Candlebird, a Sinfonietta commission. Poems by Don Paterson, sharp and tender, sparked a circus of scorched lyric phrases, dancing globules, odd folksy twirls, dips into speech and abundant panache. Echoes of Britten could be heard; but Suckling stayed his own man, especially in magnificent The Wind, a whirling jewel of multiple layers. Barring the speech, Leigh Melrose's enthusiastic baritone made every note and phrase expressive; and Nicholas Collon, the evening's occasional conductor, revelled in music well worth conducting.'
The Times (Geoff Brown), 1 June 2011
 
'…Each song is immediately characterised with a new musical idea; the writing is tangibly evocative. The third song, Motive, centres around a storm conjured in buffeting knocks on the instruments; in the title song, sliding, indistinct string melodies sound like a Brahms sextet melting in extreme heat.'
The Guardian (Erica Jeal), 1 June 2011
 
'Martin Suckling's Candlebird (2011) [...] was constantly compelling over its 25 minutes [...], gratefully set for the words and for the voice, and imaginatively scored. [...] The opening setting 'The Landscape' (Desnos) is enticingly lyrical, the singer required to speak as well [...] atmospheric, beautiful, rather Brittenesque, perched somewhere between Serenade (for tenor, horn and strings) and A Midsummer Night's Dream. 'Sky Song' (also Desnos) enjoys rapturous paragraphs, to be then contrasted with the angular and incident-packed 'Motive' (the Paterson original) and the exuberant, much-fragranced dance of 'The Wind' (Machado). Finally 'Candlebird' itself and its manifold beauties and rich divisi (Tippettian) strings, the singer reaching an intensity worthy of a muezzin before the frozen, strings now unanimous, conclusion… a cycle that has the potential for longevity.'
The Classical Source (Colin Anderson), 31 May 2011