'Ardent richness... glittering modernism dramatically collides with solemnly imposing traditional rhetoric.'   The Sunday Times (Paul Driver), 12 February 2021

This Departing Landscape, a survey of recent orchestral music by Martin Suckling, has been released by NMC as part of their Debut Discs series. The disc takes its title from Suckling’s latest orchestral score: a 18-minute work commissioned by the BBC Philharmonic which was premiered in the studio due to the pandemic.

Alongside the new work are studio recordings of Suckling’s concertos for flute and piano, made by Volkov and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Shortlisted in 2019 for the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco’s prestigious Musical Composition Prize, the 14-minute flute concerto The White Road (after Edmund de Waal) is performed by the soloist for whom it was written: Katherine Bryan. Tamara Stefanovich was the soloist in the Piano Concerto, a dazzling 26-minute work comprising six hugely contrasting movements. The disc also includes the BBC SSO’s live recording of Suckling’s Release, recorded at Volkov’s 2013 Tectonics Festival in Glasgow

‘Morton Feldman used the phrase “This Departing Landscape” 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.

Full details of the new disc can be found here

Listen to Suckling and Edmund de Waal on Radio 3's Music Matters here