The BBC Philharmonic will soon announce the premiere of a substantial new 20-minute orchestral work by Martin Suckling entitled This Departing Landscape as part of the series of studio concerts.
‘Morton Feldman used this phrase to highlight how music slips away from us even as we are hearing it’ explains Suckling. ‘The sometimes-hyperactive energy of my new work is far removed from Feldman’s soundworld, but his characterisation of music’s elusiveness provided the starting point for a journey across an imaginary landscape in constant flux.’
There are two movements, which run together without a break. The first presents a kaleidoscope of sharp-edged fragments constantly shifting into new configurations. There are abrupt changes of material and tempo: patterns loop, repeat and transform irregularly. In the second movement the pace is radically reduced. This is music of glacial energy: extremely heavy, extremely slow, an inexorable continuity of gradual transformation. Tone becomes microtone becomes noise – and out of the noise, pulsation returns, a series of accelerations spiralling unceasingly, and then suddenly cut off.