Author Topic: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)  (Read 60795 times)

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Ratliff

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #420 on: April 11, 2020, 06:36:27 PM »
I'm interested in the chamber music but as it's all on Hyperion that means it's not on streaming and so options beyond hunting down and buying the discs are a bit limited. iTunes? Not sure what the cost is.

You can't stream but you can buy lossless downloads on the Hyperion web site.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #421 on: April 11, 2020, 06:40:08 PM »
You can't stream but you can buy lossless downloads on the Hyperion web site.

Yes, but as we're talking about music that I don't know whether I'd like it or not, I'd prefer not to be buying just yet. Plus I always prefer buying a CD if one is available.

EDIT: It turns out Hyperion themselves have put some longer samples up on Youtube so I'll try those. But symphony re-listening first.

SECOND EDIT: And someone else has put other, older recordings of some of the symphonies up on Youtube as well. Hmm...
« Last Edit: April 11, 2020, 06:44:14 PM by Madiel »
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Online Maestro267

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #422 on: April 11, 2020, 11:44:02 PM »
Bump for a composer I know almost nothing about...

Anyone listening to Simpson lately? I ordered a CD with the 9th symphony and I'm excited to check it out. I like the idea of "abstract, intellectual symphonies" coming from the postwar western world. Excited to check it out.

The only ones I'm missing now among the symphonies are 6, 7, 10 & 11. This is without question the most exciting symphony cycle I've discovered in a number of years. I listened to the Ninth again yesterday.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #423 on: April 12, 2020, 12:27:43 AM »
I listened to No.3 recently (Horenstein) and really enjoyed its gritty power and searching quality (for me anyway).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #424 on: April 12, 2020, 04:22:26 AM »
Haven't been listening to him lately. I did buy a biography about him, though, which I'll read in the near future. As for the Ninth, you can't go wrong there. I think it's a terrific piece. I feel privileged to have seen the original score, in London, when I was there in 1986. Martin Anderson, of Toccata Press, had it in his office at the Institute of Economic Affairs, where he was gainfully employed... I knew him through the Havergal Brian Society and came to collect one of Toccata's first publications. I remember looking at the opening, and Martin saying: 'Always very motivic, Bob'...

Ah, that's awesome. "Very motivic" lines up with how I understand his music. It appears he approached a Beethovenian level of obsession with motivic development. Quite unlike the other major English symphonists it seems.

Anyway, it's very interesting reading the comments in this thread, but I will refrain from commenting further until I get that CD and spend a bit of time with it.

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #425 on: February 13, 2021, 04:22:47 PM »
Lyrita are going to issue a CD with the BBC recordings of the premieres of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, conducted by Andrew Davis and Charles Groves respectively. Due out in early April.  :)

DavidW

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #426 on: February 14, 2021, 09:02:10 AM »
Lyrita are going to issue a CD with the BBC recordings of the premieres of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, conducted by Andrew Davis and Charles Groves respectively. Due out in early April.  :)

I'm glad for that because only having his recordings available for purchase as downloads via Hyperion's website means that people for the most part are not even aware of him.  I've ranted about this before but Hyperion refusing to stream or keep their catalog in print on cd does a disservice to the artists (both performers and composers) that they represent.  And I can't imagine that it is a smart business model in the long run.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #427 on: February 14, 2021, 09:05:38 AM »
I'm glad for that because only having his recordings available for purchase as downloads via Hyperion's website means that people for the most part are not even aware of him.  I've ranted about this before but Hyperion refusing to stream or keep their catalog in print on cd does a disservice to the artists (both performers and composers) that they represent.  And I can't imagine that it is a smart business model in the long run.

According to the liner Simpson was delighted by the performance of No.5 but far less so of No.6 - apparently the orchestra only rehearsed the work for the first time the day before the concert.  Simpson revised the work after the performance as well - so this is the only recording of the "original" version of No.5....

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #428 on: February 14, 2021, 11:43:03 AM »
According to the liner Simpson was delighted by the performance of No.5 but far less so of No.6 - apparently the orchestra only rehearsed the work for the first time the day before the concert.  Simpson revised the work after the performance as well - so this is the only recording of the "original" version of No.5....
Sorry did he revise 5 or 6 after the premiere?
Anyway he was even less lucky with 8. Then the orchestra due to give the premiere hadn’t rehearsed it at all, so the first performance was the first play through!

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #429 on: February 15, 2021, 02:37:35 AM »
Sorry did he revise 5 or 6 after the premiere?
Anyway he was even less lucky with 8. Then the orchestra due to give the premiere hadn’t rehearsed it at all, so the first performance was the first play through!

According to the liner it was No.6 - I scanned the last page of the booklet so you can read what Simpson himself said.......

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #430 on: February 15, 2021, 04:15:33 AM »
Lyrita are going to issue a CD with the BBC recordings of the premieres of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, conducted by Andrew Davis and Charles Groves respectively. Due out in early April.  :)
That's good news!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

DavidW

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #431 on: February 15, 2021, 07:49:40 AM »
According to the liner it was No.6 - I scanned the last page of the booklet so you can read what Simpson himself said.......

Wait this is in reference to the Groves performance of 1980.  Handley's recording was in 1987 a full ten years after the symphony was written.  And since it was a non-live recording I'm sure Handley put consider thought into it and the orchestra sufficiently rehearsed the piece.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #432 on: February 15, 2021, 08:51:40 AM »
Wait this is in reference to the Groves performance of 1980.  Handley's recording was in 1987 a full ten years after the symphony was written.  And since it was a non-live recording I'm sure Handley put consider thought into it and the orchestra sufficiently rehearsed the piece.

Yes he is referencing the 1st public performance- this quote is from the liner for the new Lyrita disc.

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #433 on: March 04, 2021, 12:45:13 AM »
A member of the Robert Simpson Society has made a transcription of the score of the Third Symphony into a music program and you can follow the score whilst listening to the program's rendition of the music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIEczEtEUkw <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIEczEtEUkw>

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #434 on: May 20, 2021, 12:27:01 PM »
Robert Simpson is composer of the week on BBC Radio 3 from May 30 onwards (to mark his centenary year). Here's hoping for some performances of previously unrecorded works!

Offline Cato

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Re: Robert Simpson (1921-1997)
« Reply #435 on: May 20, 2021, 03:39:50 PM »
Allow me to quote myself from another topic:


Quote



I had some time today and listened to the Robert Simpson Symphony #5, which can best be described as a creature created with the help of musical DNA from Charles Ives, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, and Prokofiev. 8)

Yes, that is a recommendation!
   0:)



<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/om1AU1brhU0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/om1AU1brhU0</a>


"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Online Maestro267

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #436 on: May 21, 2021, 02:24:11 AM »
One of many things I enjoy about the 5th Symphony is the finale. When you see a movement that's that long, or takes up that much of a symphony's total length, usually it's a slow weighty structure like a Passacaglia or something. But this is 16 minutes of surging thrilling energetic release.

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #437 on: May 27, 2021, 07:25:08 PM »
Well, the BBC Composer of the Week series is very much a lite version of what could have been. I have looked at the schedules and they are relying exclusively on recorded performances, not arranging for new performances of unrecorded works or digging historic performances out of the archives  :(

However, the programmes will probably still be worth listening to.

Talking of unrecorded works I have been occupying myself with transcribing the Brass Quintet (1989) into a music program and I have produced a midi-version. Obviously a real performance would be better, however, this allows you to hear what is sounds like approximately.

On Youtube:

https://youtu.be/1BJWvgi08TQ

Enjoy. My next project will be doing the same thing for the Variations and Fugue on a Theme of J S Bach, but don't hold your breath, there are a lot more notes in that one. ;)




Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #438 on: July 18, 2021, 04:28:19 PM »
Well labours of love don't seem to take that long, I have finished transcribing Simpson’s Variations and Fugue on the Theme of J S Bach for Strings from a copy of the composer's MS.

This is an unrecorded work from 1991. Simpson finished it in April 1991 and it was his penultimate orchestral work (only the Cello Concerto was completed after this before the stroke that ended his ability to compose). It turns out to be a major work and of quite exceptional interest; it is a work for strings in the tradition of those magnificent works for strings by British composers from the Tallis Fantasia onwards.

As I started the project I heard from a conductor who is talking of performances and a recording later this year. He is going to use the score I have prepared  :D However, what this means is that I probably won't publish the midi file on Youtube for fear of killing off demand for the recording when it emerges.

However, just to whet your appetites, here are my 'sleeve notes' about this piece:

Theme, Sarabande from Cello Suite No.5 by J S Bach, A and B strains, A strain not repeated, played on solo cello.

I ♩= 50 slowish, easily recognised variation for upper strings with pizzicato cellos and basses.
II Poco piu mosso, slightly faster with melody in 1st violins, divisi 2nd violins. The melody is slightly reminiscent of Finzi (not a composer you would have thought Simpson regarded much!).
III ♩= 63, slightly quicker again; eloquent melody in the first violins.

IV Anima piu mosso, scurrying figures in the violins with pizzicato violas and cellos.
V L’istesso tempo, similar variation with pizzicato violins and scurrying in the violas and cellos.

VI Canone elastiche alla duodecima, allegro. This is an ‘elastic canon at the 12th’; Simpson commented ‘Bach would have died if he’d heard this!’

VII Andante, a miniature slow movement.

VIII Vivace, a dialogue between rapidly moving 1st violins and the equally rapid basses.
IX L’istesso tempo, a colloquy between the 2nd violins, violas and cellos based on similar material to VIII.
X L’istesso tempo, vigorous, rapid figures from all the strings
XI L’istesso tempo, begins with a high, held note in the first violins, continues with successive, canonic entries of intensivo phrases from the different groups—reminiscent of Nielsen.

XII Adagio, a still, beautiful variation built on successive soft discords entering from the lower notes upwards in each bar. One group of the 2nd violins divisi a 3 have very high notes played as harmonics.
XIII Cantabile ♩= ♪ del precedente A fully-fledged slow movement, some of the most beautiful pages Simpson ever wrote.

Fuga, Allegretto vivace – Piu mosso – Adagio The Fugue begins quietly and begins to run with relentless energy through an amazing variety of figures and textures. This is homage to Bach, of course. Sometimes the music is vigorous, at other times seems to be dying away, but there is always momentum behind it. Halfway through a quieter passage with divisi cellos and violas begins a faster section and the passage that ensues is breathtaking in its contrapuntal mastery; the inspiration here is perhaps Beethoven’s Große Fuge. At length, however, the volume and tempo slacken and the final Adagio section begins. A solo cello intones fragments of Bach’s theme and the piece closes peacefully.

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #439 on: July 18, 2021, 05:45:55 PM »
Stupendous job! It's clear that your love for this composer is palpable. Hopefully it will be recorded soon.
Give us something else; give us something new; for Heaven's sake give us something bad, so long as we feel we are alive and active and not just passive admirers of tradition!

Carl Nielsen