Hyperion Records

Simpson, Robert (1921-1997)  

Robert Simpson

born: 2 March 1921
died: 21 November 1997
country: United Kingdom

Robert Simpson was born in Leamington, England, in 1921. From 1942 to 1946 he studied with Herbert Howells and in 1951 joined the BBC. In the same year he was awarded a DMus from Durham University for his First Symphony. He remained with the BBC until his resignation in 1980 over the Corporation's cultural policy. During his years with the BBC he championed the music of many composers, but in particular he was a strong advocate of Bruckner and Nielsen, both of whom have had an important influence on Simpson's own work. He has also written major studies about them: 'The Essence of Bruckner' (1966), and 'Carl Nielsen, Symphonist' (1979). His other writings include the BBC Music Guide 'Beethoven Symphonies' (1970). In 1986 he moved to Ireland and continued to compose, even after a serious stroke in 1992. He died on November 21 1997, at the age of 76.

Eleven symphonies and fifteen string quartets form the impressive backbone of Dr Simpson's compositions. From the 1950s date his first two symphonies (1951, 1956) and the first three quartets (1951/2, 1953, 1953/4). In the sixties came the Third Symphony (1962) and in the seventies the Fourth to Seventh Symphonies (1971/2, 1976, 1977) and the Fourth to Eighth Quartets (1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, and 1979). To the eighties belong the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Symphonies (1981, 1986, 1988) and the Ninth to Thirteenth Quartets (1982, 1984, 1984, 1987, 1989). In the nineties came the Eleventh Symphony (1990) and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Quartets (1990, 1991). At the root of much of his music is the dramatic tension wrought from the opposition of conflicting tonalities, and the music's dynamic proceeds through tight thematic and tonal structures. Among his other compositions are concertos for piano (1967), flute (1989) and cello (1991), two string quintets (1987, 1995) and several works for brass band, including Energy (1971), The Four Temperaments (1983) and Vortex (1989).

Hyperion has recorded the first ten of Simpson's symphonies and, under the auspices of The Robert Simpson Society, all of the string quartets, both string quintets, the complete piano music and numerous other chamber works.

Albums
'Simpson & Bach: The Art of Fugue' (CDA67138)
Simpson & Bach: The Art of Fugue
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA67138  Archive Service  
'Simpson: Canzona, Media morte in vita sumu, Tempi & Eppur si muove' (CDA67016)
Simpson: Canzona, Media morte in vita sumu, Tempi & Eppur si muove
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67016 
'Simpson: Horn Quartet & Horn Trio' (CDA66695)
Simpson: Horn Quartet & Horn Trio
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66695 
'Simpson: Music for Brass' (CDA66449)
Simpson: Music for Brass
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66449  Archive Service   Download currently discounted
'Simpson: Sonata for violin and piano & Trio for violin, cello and piano' (CDA66737)
Simpson: Sonata for violin and piano & Trio for violin, cello and piano
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66737  Archive Service   Download currently discounted
'Simpson: String Quartet No 12 & String Quintet' (CDA66503)
Simpson: String Quartet No 12 & String Quintet
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66503  Archive Service  
'Simpson: String Quartet No 13 & String Quintet No 2' (CDA66905)
Simpson: String Quartet No 13 & String Quintet No 2
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66905  Archive Service  
'Simpson: String Quartet No 9' (CDA66127)
Simpson: String Quartet No 9
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'Simpson: String Quartets Nos 1 & 4' (CDA66419)
Simpson: String Quartets Nos 1 & 4
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66419 
'Simpson: String Quartets Nos 10 & 11' (CDA66225)
Simpson: String Quartets Nos 10 & 11
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66225  Archive Service  
'Simpson: String Quartets Nos 14 & 15' (CDA66626)
Simpson: String Quartets Nos 14 & 15
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66626  Last few CD copies remaining  
'Simpson: String Quartets Nos 2 & 5' (CDA66386)
Simpson: String Quartets Nos 2 & 5
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66386 
'Simpson: String Quartets Nos 3 & 6 and String Trio' (CDA66376)
Simpson: String Quartets Nos 3 & 6 and String Trio
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66376  Archive Service  
'Simpson: String Quartets Nos 7 & 8' (CDA66117)
Simpson: String Quartets Nos 7 & 8
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66117 
'Simpson: Symphonies Nos 1 & 8' (CDA66890)
Simpson: Symphonies Nos 1 & 8
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66890 
'Simpson: Symphonies Nos 2 & 4' (CDA66505)
Simpson: Symphonies Nos 2 & 4
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66505 
'Simpson: Symphonies Nos 3 & 5' (CDA66728)
Simpson: Symphonies Nos 3 & 5
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66728 
'Simpson: Symphonies Nos 6 & 7' (CDA66280)
Simpson: Symphonies Nos 6 & 7
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66280  Archive Service; also available on CDS44191/7  
'Simpson: Symphony No 10' (CDA66510)
Simpson: Symphony No 10
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66510  Archive Service; also available on CDS44191/7  
'Simpson: Symphony No 9' (CDA66299)
Simpson: Symphony No 9
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66299 
'Simpson: Symphony No. 11 & Nielsen Variations' (CDA67500)
Simpson: Symphony No. 11 & Nielsen Variations
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67500 
'Simpson: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDA66827)
Simpson: The Complete Solo Piano Music
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66827  Archive Service  
'Simpson: The Complete Symphonies' (CDS44191/7)
Simpson: The Complete Symphonies
Buy by post £33.00 CDS44191/7  7CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Bach & Simpson: The Art of Fugue' (CDA67138)
Bach & Simpson: The Art of Fugue
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA67138  Archive Service  
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
Adagio mesto, Espressivo, Crescendo, Calmato, Adagio tranquillo …  First line to Tempi (Simpson)
Canzona for brass (Simpson)
Energy (Simpson)
Eppur si muove for organ (Simpson)
In semine durat genus / The race continues in the seed  First line to Media morte in vita sumus (Simpson)
Introduction and allegro on a bass by Max Reger (Simpson)
Media morte in vita sumus (Simpson)
Michael Tippett, His Mystery (Simpson)
Piano Sonata (Simpson)
Quartet for horn, violin, cello and piano (Simpson)
Quintet for clarinet and strings (Simpson)
Quintet for clarinet, bass clarinet and string trio (Simpson)
Sonata for violin and piano (Simpson)
String Quartet No 1 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 10 'For peace' (Simpson)
String Quartet No 11 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 12 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 13 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 14 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 15 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 2 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 3 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 4 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 5 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 6 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 7 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 8 (Simpson)
String Quartet No 9 (Simpson)
String Quintet (Simpson)
String Quintet No 2 (Simpson)
String Trio (Simpson)
Symphony No 1 (Simpson)
Symphony No 10 (Simpson)
Symphony No 11 (Simpson)
Symphony No 2 (Simpson)
Symphony No 3 (Simpson)
Symphony No 4 (Simpson)
Symphony No 5 (Simpson)
Symphony No 6 (Simpson)
Symphony No 7 (Simpson)
Symphony No 8 (Simpson)
Symphony No 9 (Simpson)
Symphony No 9, illustrated talk by the composer (Simpson)
Tempi (Simpson)
The Art of Fugue, BWV1080 (Bach/Simpson)
The Art of Fugue, BWV1080 (Bach/Tovey/Simpson)
The Four Temperaments (Simpson)
Trio for horn, violin and piano (Simpson)
Trio for violin, cello and piano (Simpson)
Variations and Finale on a theme by Beethoven (Simpson)
Variations and Finale on a theme of Haydn (Simpson)
Variations on a theme by Nielsen (Simpson)
Volcano (Simpson)
Vortex (Simpson)
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