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Scottish premiere of Martin Suckling's Candlebird

Posted on 26 February 2015

Schools education project, Q & A tour, and beautiful new score from Faber Music mark Scottish premiere of Suckling’s acclaimed Candlebird

The first performance of Music department Lecturer and SCO Associate Composer Martin Suckling’s Candlebird, songs to texts by prominent Scottish poet Don Paterson, was greeted with a wave of critical enthusiasm: ‘staggeringly assured’ (The Sunday Times), ‘luxuriously imaginative’ (The Times), ‘superbly accomplished […] the intertwining of voice and instruments is immaculate, the musical language, in which microtones coexist comfortably with long melodic lines and expressively potent harmony, is utterly surefooted.’ (The Guardian).  

This evocative song cycle now travels north of the border for a series of performances given by the SCO and Mark Stone (baritone), conducted by Nicholas Collon.  Concerts in St. Andrew’s Younger Hall (Feb 25), Glasgow’s City Halls (Feb 27) and Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall (Feb 28) see Candlebird paired with Brahms’ Serenade No. 1 and Britten’s arrangement of Mahler, What the Wild Flowers Tell Me.

To mark the occasion, Suckling’s publishers, Faber Music Ltd, have released a beautifully engraved edition of the score, available now from the Faber Music Shop and other retail outlets.  All Suckling’s published scores are available to peruse online absolutely free at the Faber Online Score Library.

Education and outreach are priorities for both Suckling and the SCO.  As has become the norm during Suckling’s tenure as SCO Associate Composer, each performance will be preceded by a public Q & A with the composer.  Suckling is also joining forces with award-winning animateur Luke Crookes to devise a new piece written and performed by students from Waid Academy, Bell Baxter High School, and St. Leonard's School.  Offering students a unique opportunity to delve inside Candlebird and expand their own creative practice, this exciting new piece will be developed across an intensive weekend of workshops with Suckling and Crookes and receive its first performance on 25th February.

Suckling is currently working on a clarinet trio for Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Jean-Guihen Queyras, and Mark Simpson, commissioned by the Aldeburgh Festival for performance in June 2015.