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Vortex is in Robert Simpson’s highly characteristic fast triple-time pulse, which is maintained for the entire duration of the piece. Beginning mysteriously with a sinister muttering motive low on tubas and trombones, the music grows with considerable strength as powerful stretches of vigorous music contrast with quieter moments. These latter moments seem to reveal a new transparency of sound in the composer’s band scoring. The work concludes with a formidable blaze of sound recalling the final pages of Simpson’s Symphony No 10 (1988).
from notes by Matthew Taylor © 1991