Suckling, Norman, English pianist, teacher, writer on music, and composer; b. London, Oct. 24, 1904. He received his academic education at Queen’s Coll., Oxford, specializing in French literature. He was asst. master at Liverpool Collegiate School (1925-43); then was a lecturer in French language and literature at King’s Coll., Newcastle upon Tyne, in the Federal Univ. of Durham (1943-70). While thus occupied, he developed sufficient mastery of the piano to give concerts, at which he presented programs of modern French music. He publ, a monograph on Gabriel Fauré (London, 1946) and several books on French literature; also contributed articles on English and French composers to the Listener and other literary publications. His compositions are mostly in small forms; his songs are particularly fine.
Introduction and Scherzo for String Quartet (1923); Ode for Violin and Piano (1925); A Vision of Avalon, chamber opera (1928); A Cycle of Shakespeare Sonnets for Tenor, Violin, and Piano (1928); Violin Sonata (1928); Man in the Beginning, ballet (1934); Berceuse élégiaque for Clarinet and Piano, to commemorate a pet kitten, and written for the composer’s first wife (1943); Pastorale saugrenue for Flute and Bassoon (1944); Variations on a Theme of Rameau for Flute and Piano (1947); many songs to words by English poets.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire