Martin Suckling: This Departing Landscape

Martin Suckling: This Departing Landscape

NMC Recordings
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Release date: 12 February 2021

Born in Glasgow, Martin Suckling has been heralded as 'probably the most important figure in Scotland's music since James MacMillan' (Michael Tumelty, The Herald). He has been championed by many leading orchestras and ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the London Contemporary Orchestra.

His Debut Disc brings together four large-scale works recorded with BBC Orchestras and conductor Ilan Volkov. The title piece, This Departing Landscape, explores the idea of music as a physical space that we move through and slips away from us, with a kaleidoscope of sharp-edged fragments then unlocking the glacial energy of the second movement. 'This was music that left me wanting to step inside my radio for full immersion.' (Flora Willson, The Guardian)

Release plays on the urge to clap or shout, sing and listen to the sound as it bounces around a large reverberant space. With the orchestra taking the role of both impudent child and cathedral, echos are distorted, captured, extended, and manipulated.

His flute concerto The White Road (after Edmund de Waal) makes good on a promise by Suckling to flautist Katherine Bryan as teenagers together in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Finding inspiration in the ceramic art of Edmund de Waal, Suckling builds an orchestra of virtual flutes to accompany Bryan's singing melodic lines.

'Fearless, dazzling, exceptional' (The Guardian) pianist Tamara Stefanovich sets the musical world in motion as the soloist in Suckling's Piano Concerto with music that spirals into more and more diverse regions through five exuberant movements.

NMC’s Debut Discs are crucial calling cards, invaluable for showcasing composers to a wider public, giving them the opportunity to present a first full portrait album of their work. Debut Discs has to date supported 19 releases.

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
BBC Philharmonic
Ilan Volkov conductor
Katherine Bryan flute
Tamara Stefanovich piano





'The ardent richness of his idiom is well attested by his five-movement piano concerto, and the way glittering modernism dramatically collides with solemnly imposing traditional rhetoric.' The Sunday Times

'The most substantial is the Piano Concerto, played on the recording with typical intensity by Tamara Stefanovich. Its heart is a becalmed intermezzo, cloudy with microtones...' The Guardian

'Katherine Bryan is sublime, slicing through fragmented cadenzas and revealing a powerful lower range' BBC Music Magazine

'This NMC portrait might have been a time coming but the wait was worthwhile.' Gramophone

'Martin Suckling has an unerring sense of pacing and is an abundantly talented orchestrator. This Departing Landscape establishes him as a distinctive voice. One hopes his second portrait CD isn’t long in coming.' Sequenza21/

'A highly original and inventive composer, Suckling writes music that transports the listener to landscapes of tactile, photographic vividness, sensuous and immersive. To this end, he employs techniques that range from emphatic tonality to noise textures, freely blended and juxtaposed with an unfailing sense of color and paradoxical logic and inevitability.' Records International


The recording of this album was made possible with the generous support of a Leverhulme Trust Philip Leverhulme Prize, awarded to Martin Suckling. The prize recognises researchers at an early stage of their careers whose work has had an international impact and whose future career is exceptionally promising.



With special thanks to the RVW Trust, Hinrichsen Foundation, Fidelio Charitable Trust for their support of this recording.



Thank you to the Trusts, Foundations and individuals who have invested in NMC’s Debut Discs series:
The John S Cohen Foundation
The Garrick Charitable Trust
Nicholas and Judith Goodison's Charitable Settlement
The Leche Trust
The Mercers' Charitable Foundation
Stanley Picker Trust
The Steel Charitable Trust
Terry Holmes
Robert McFarland
James and Anne Rushton
Martin Staniforth
Duncan Tebbet
Judith Weir
and everyone who donated through NMC's Debut Disc Appeal.




The White Road and Piano Concerto were recorded at City Halls,
Glasgow, Scotland on 17-19 February 2020
Matthew Bennett producer
Stephen Rinker recording engineer
Will Thornton assistant engineer

Release was recorded at City Halls, Glasgow, Scotland on 12 May 2013
Andrew Trinnick producer
Graeme Taylor recording engineer

This Departing Landscape was recorded at MediaCityUK, Salford; 12
February 2020 and first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 3 July 2020
Matthew Bennett producer
Stephen Rinker recording engineer
Matthew Bennett editing
Stephen Rinker mixing

Catalogue number: NMC D262
Release Date: 12 February 2021