BBC Radio 3 / Wellcome Collection festival features Martin Suckling premiere
The world premiere of Martin Suckling’s String Quintet at 1pm on Sunday 15th October at the Wellcome Collection will be broadcast live on Radio 3 as part of Why Music? The Key to Memory. Martin’s quintet, alongside poetry by Frances Leviston, was commissioned by Poet in the City and Aurora Orchestra, supported by Bio Nano Consulting Ltd for the dissemination of PETMEM (piezoelectronic Transduction Memory Device), an EU Horizon 2020-funded project exploring low-voltage memory technologies.
About the collaboration, Martin writes:
‘Among the many fascinating aspects of the PETMEM project that frequently arose in conversations between Frances and myself were the strange otherworldly landscapes revealed under the scanning electron microscope, and the piezoresistive effect, where a material under sufficiently high pressure changes state from a resistor to a conductor of electricity.
There are many ways in which the idea of pressure can be translated into music – squeezing material into shorter and shorter timeframes, squashing the pitch space around a given note, increasing the density of activity – and all of these have a role to play in my quintet. In the first section, a viola melody is surrounded by a filigree tapestry of echoes and fragments and distorting mirrors across a series of compressions until all that remains of the available space is a single trill. At this point of extreme pressure, the properties of the material suddenly change: bright, gleaming, sudden bursts of sound in a highly microtonal environment.
All of this is haunted by the ghost of Schubert, above all the incomparable Adagio from his String Quintet in C major. A memory of this music, perhaps my favourite piece by my favourite composer, increasingly asserts itself on the surface of my quintet until the final passages become as if hypnotised by Schubert’s harmonies, crystallising around them like frost on a fallen leaf.’
James Cave has been announced as the winner of the ‘Same Notes – Ten Times Sweeter’ Competition
This competition was for a piece for unaccompanied descant or treble recorder, three to four minutes long.
James Cave’s setting of ‘Ave Maria’, commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of York Minster for the Nine Lessons and Carols 2016, has been selected for inclusion on a new CD of pieces written for York Minster, to be released on Regent Records later this year.
For the second year running, Martin Suckling features in the Scottish Awards for New Music. His flute concerto, The White Road, premiered last February by Katherine Bryan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, is shortlisted in the ‘Large Scale Work (11+ performers) sponsored by PRS for Music’ category. Over 180 nominations were submitted by artists, audience members and the general public, reinforcing the depth and breadth of new music activity in Scotland. The awards event will be held at the Drygate Brewery, Glasgow on Wednesday 7 March 2017.
PhD student Patrick John Jones has been selected for PRS for Music’s new scheme for composers, Accelerate.
On Friday 12th January, Martin Suckling’s new string quintet, Emily’s Electrical Absence, a collaboration with poet Frances Leviston and scientists from the PETMEM consortium, receives its premiere in London as part of the ‘Time Unwrapped’ series at King’s Place. The following day in New York City, Lost Dog New Music Ensemble give the second US performance of Martin’s clarinet trio Visiones (after Goya) as part of their mini-festival of British music, ‘The UK Commotion’.
The Journal of Music, Technology and Education recently published a special edition on the Online Orchestra, an Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded project that run between October 2014 to March 2016.