A new portrait disc of Martin Suckling’s chamber music, featuring Marta Fontanals-Simmons, Christopher Glynn and his long-term collaborators Aurora Orchestra, has been released by Delphian.

The disc takes its title from Suckling’s 2019 song cycle setting poems by Michael Donaghy, an Oxford Lieder commission for Fontanals-Simmons and Glynn who record it here. Taken as a whole, the disc is a fascinating survey of Suckling’s rich chamber output: from the ravishing string duo Nocturne, premiered in 2013 by Pekka Kuusisto and Peter Gregson and recorded here by Jamie Campbell and Sébastien Van Kuijk from Aurora Orchestra, to the beguiling just-intonation soundworld of Her Lullaby for solo string instrument, composed in 2019 and recorded by Van Kuijk in the version for cello. Also featured on the disc is Suckling’s 2017 String Quintet “Emily’s Electrical Absence”, a substantial 25-minute work which is interspersed with poems by Frances Leviston.

“It’s one thing for Martin Suckling to say that he composes through the night – as much for practicality as preference – but to produce music of such genuinely creative originality from these nocturnal sessions is another. We first hear The Tuning… [in which] Suckling creates a magical allusive equilibrium between the unpretentious fluidity of the vocal line and glittering, unfettered, descriptive piano writing. The performance, delicate and precise, is beguiling. Also blisteringly original is the String Quintet whose gently penetrating poems intersperse four exquisite musical responses. The inclusion Nocturne and Her Lullaby as respective reflections is sublime, the lullaby in particular, with its ghostly harmonics and dreamy microtonal inflexions.”
The Scotsman (Ken Walton), 21 January 2022

The last month has also seen the premiere of Suckling Etude: ‘Orrery’ by Tamara Stefanovich, a commission from the Luxembourg Philharmonie.