Martin Suckling’s Visiones at Aldeburgh Festival
The world premiere of Music Department Lecturer Martin Suckling’s new clarinet trio, Visiones (after Goya), will take place on 20th June at the Aldeburgh Festival.
The performers, Mark Simpson (clarinet), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello), and Tamara Stefanovich (piano), are part of a star-studded line up for a sold-out concert that also includes pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, George Benjamin and Florent Boffard, and violinist Isobel Faust in music by Ravel, Debussy, and Benjamin himself.
Commissioned by the Aldeburgh Festival, Suckling’s trio explores the lyrical potential of microtonal tuning alongside wildly energetic dances. Outlining the music’s inspiration in the images of Spanish painter Francisco Goya, the composer writes:
On page 10 of the Goya sketchbook generally known as the Witches and Old Women album, there is an image captioned by a single word: ‘Visiones’. An elderly couple dance, apparently suspended midair in an awkward embrace: his attention seems elsewhere; she may be picking his pocket. The pen-strokes are few, and the ink and wash technique makes the image seem as though momentarily conjured out of smoke. But without a doubt they are dancing, this strange couple, ready to step off the page, so alive is the penmanship. Peeking out from behind a fold of the lady’s skirt or the man’s cloak is a grinning face, all sunken eyes and wrinkled skin, laughing at … what? The dancers, the viewer, the world?
As I drew together materials for this clarinet trio, Goya’s vision haunted my dreams. It’s not the piece but it drew the piece into its orbit: three odd characters, bound together in dance. There is a kind of beauty there, I think, and elegance, and poise, and some sweet melancholy. But also obsession and violence and no way out. As I shaped the piece, these ideas shaped my thinking.
Following the success at the 2019 International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) – World Music Days , Thomas Simaku’s most recent work, La Leggiadra Luna for mixed choir a cappella, has been broadcast by four European radio stations.
The Royal Philharmonic Society have announced the latest members of their prestigious Emerging Composers scheme, including Robin Haigh, currently studying for a PhD at York with Martin Suckling, and Joel Järventausta, a former York undergraduate.
Back in June Martin was invited to speak about Radulescu’s seminal solo viola piece Das Andere alongside violist Garth Knox at the Spectralisms conference in IRCAM.
Praise for Music Dept students featured in BBC Proms
Following on from his specially-commissioned Radio 3 takeover to extend the Last Night of the Proms 2018, Music Department PhD student Neil Luck was invited to contribute a live set as part of 2019’s first ‘Proms at…’ event. Joined by second year undergraduate Rebecca Burden and former student James McIlwrath, Neil masterminded three pieces in an event described by the Guardian as a ‘teasing, challenging new-music bill’. Proms at …
His new work will be performed by four different ensembles in four European cities and released on CD in 2020
The objective of Discovering Young Composers of Europe (DYCE) Competition was to bring together the four regions of Europe (North, South, East, West) by inviting the composition students and alumni of all European Academies, Conservatories and Universities to submit a work.
His work will be performed by a Grammy Award-winning ensemble
Thomas Simaku’s recent work, La Leggiadra Luna for mixed choir a cappella, has been selected by the international jury for performance at the 2019 ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) – World Music Days, which takes place in Estonia from 2 – 10 May.