The reaction to Martin Suckling’s ‘musical postcards’ has been extraordinary (see below). Despite their brevity, each one of these four short string works – composed over the 2012/13 season for the Scottish Ensemble – has been rapturously received. Each miniature not only perfectly captures a moment in time, but crystallises the composer’s style: radiating melodies that glow with microtones, shimmering textures that reveal a dark underworld.
Although each ‘story’ is capable of standing on its own, the idea has always been to unite them; ‘I like to think they might fit together a bit like Bach’s Notebooks for Anna Magdalena,’ writes Suckling.
The complete set will be performed by the Scottish Ensemble in Scotland (Aberdeen 21 Oct, Edinburgh, 22nd Oct, Glasgow, 23 Oct and Perth 24 Oct), before reaching London’s Wigmore Hall on 26 October.
Press reaction so far:
No.1 In memoriam EMS,
‘Suckling has an exciting, distinctive voice and a rigorous ear for detail.’
The Observer (Fiona Maddocks), 4 November 2012
No. 2 Mr Jonathan Morton, His Ground.
‘The piece clocks in at just a couple of minutes, but Suckling’s distilled gestures and striking contrasts – bare against sumptuous, busy against still, solo against group, prime harmonies against discord – meant the impact lingered much longer.’
The Guardian (Kate Molleson), Thursday 6 December
No.3 Chimes at Midnight
‘Chimes at Midnight was suitably spine-tingling. Swishing harmonics streaked through the ethereal
string textures like meteors, anchored by an ever-present, faint pulsing of the passing seconds.’
The Scotsman (Susan Nickalls), 16 February 2013
No. 4, Touch
‘…it was a joy to hear Suckling’s characteristic rhythm and beauty, all reduced to a powerfully disciplined, skilful and pointed miniature.’
The Herald (Rosenna East), 14 June 2013