Author Topic: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)  (Read 69109 times)

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Offline Maestro267

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #500 on: February 05, 2022, 06:39:02 AM »
Symphonies are buildings in themselves, not scaffolding.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #501 on: February 05, 2022, 01:04:48 PM »
Symphonies are buildings in themselves, not scaffolding.

I know. That’s the essence of the problem.
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Offline krummholz

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #502 on: February 05, 2022, 04:53:08 PM »
Listening to #8 now, for the first time and I have to agree with calyptorhynchus - this is a 'wonderful profound work that moves from innocence through strife and violence to at the end not triumph, but vigorous optimism'.

Excellent stuff!

Indeed, the last movement of the 8th is probably my very favourite Simpson finale, even over the 5th and the 10th, both of which I admire greatly. There's an exhilarating ride to the finish here, and those final four hammerblows seem to distill down the harmonic kernel of the work to its bare essentials and really drive home the message. Excellent stuff indeed!

Offline amw

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #503 on: February 05, 2022, 05:39:46 PM »
I understand and sympathise with the greater popularity of No. 9—for various reasons it does come across as a more "profound" piece—but I honestly prefer No. 8, which is probably my favourite of the "big" Simpson symphonies (i.e. the ones with larger orchestral forces, I guess). 2 and 7 are for chamber-sized orchestras, or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part hoping for a Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Ticciati or Emelyanychev recording pairing the two. Of course the symphonies do all have strong stylistic similarities, and the only ones I've never really been able to get into are 1 and 10.

Offline foxandpeng

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #504 on: February 06, 2022, 01:30:10 AM »
I've been completely taken with both #8 and #9 in the last few days. I know Simpson was wary of emotion for fear of wallowing there, but both works have undeniable emotional power. I'm nowhere near being able to rank my preferences yet, but these are impressive, powerful, driving works worthy of anyone's time. #9, in particular, has to rank as one of the great 9ths of the 20th century - I love its Brucknerian sweep with such crushing brass and percussion.

#4 is on the cards today  I think. 
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Online Spotted Horses

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #505 on: February 06, 2022, 05:55:45 AM »
I listened to the sixth symphony today. The general shape of it is that the first part builds to a forceful climax, then breaks off, setting the stage for a second buildup to a climax at the end.

Again, I find it an impressive and satisfying work. I guess what I find myself attracted to most in this music is the resplendent orchestration and harmony, particularly the richness of the writing for brass and horns. The performance seems confident, well rehearsed, and resolute.

Offline relm1

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #506 on: February 06, 2022, 06:43:33 AM »
I also like No. 5 and its sort of an ode to Nielsen.  Full of energy, angry brass, percussive angst. 

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #507 on: February 06, 2022, 01:41:46 PM »
Again, I find it an impressive and satisfying work. I guess what I find myself attracted to most in this music is the resplendent orchestration and harmony, particularly the richness of the writing for brass and horns. The performance seems confident, well rehearsed, and resolute.

Actually that's one characteristic I love about Simpson's music (and it's a characteristic, in a more mercurial way, of Brian's music too)—the very full brass sound in many passages. Someone you feel that the symphony orchestra didn't achieve its full potential (or volume) until these two composers came along  ;)

I'm sure this is why Simpson liked and championed Brian's music so much, despite the fact that their styles are quite different.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #508 on: February 06, 2022, 04:53:44 PM »
Hmm, none of the symphonies really click with me except for the 9th—which is just incredible. Anyone have any recommendations for next steps? I've already heard the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 8th.

Offline relm1

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #509 on: February 06, 2022, 05:42:50 PM »
Hmm, none of the symphonies really click with me except for the 9th—which is just incredible. Anyone have any recommendations for next steps? I've already heard the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 8th.

Check out his early symphonies by other conductors.  They are quite fantastic.  He tended to go for structure more than expression so when you had conductors who emphasized expressivity, it made a great interpretation. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKbSRX1vYck
« Last Edit: February 06, 2022, 05:44:32 PM by relm1 »

Offline foxandpeng

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #510 on: February 08, 2022, 09:02:30 AM »
Symphony 4 is a winner. The more I hear it, the more I like this work. Second movement is great. In fact, roll over, Beethoven.

Did you see what I did, there? The long winter nights just fly by in our house. Oh, yes.

The andante shows Simpson can write tuneful sections when he chooses, and I would probably recommend #4 as one of several starting points for those new to his music. Having said that  I would also come at him through #8 or #9, if you enjoy big, bold works.
“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

Tolstoy

Offline krummholz

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #511 on: February 08, 2022, 03:03:28 PM »
Symphony 4 is a winner. The more I hear it, the more I like this work. Second movement is great. In fact, roll over, Beethoven.

Did you see what I did, there? The long winter nights just fly by in our house. Oh, yes.

The andante shows Simpson can write tuneful sections when he chooses, and I would probably recommend #4 as one of several starting points for those new to his music. Having said that  I would also come at him through #8 or #9, if you enjoy big, bold works.

I agree. The 4th is certainly Simpson's most ebullient symphony and it's a wonder it isn't more popular. I think it is my favourite of the "earlier" symphonies (though it's by no means an early work, dating from the early 1970s I believe).

Offline Madiel

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #512 on: February 08, 2022, 07:22:05 PM »
The Hyperion set has absolutely nothing to fear from this alternative version of Symphony no.4. Ragged playing.

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Offline foxandpeng

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #513 on: February 09, 2022, 11:06:41 AM »
The Hyperion set has absolutely nothing to fear from this alternative version of Symphony no.4. Ragged playing.



The Hyperion recording is utterly different, isn't it? When this is the only streaming choice, it is little wonder that folk don't find it compelling.

I agree. The 4th is certainly Simpson's most ebullient symphony and it's a wonder it isn't more popular. I think it is my favourite of the "earlier" symphonies (though it's by no means an early work, dating from the early 1970s I believe).

Mine too, with #2 just behind it.
“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

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Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #514 on: June 22, 2022, 01:40:38 PM »
Horenstein's recordings of the 2nd and 3rd Symphonies have just been released.



Urania CP131584 (download only).

The 3rd Symphony has been previously released and is a very good recording, being much more definite and decisive than Handley's version on Hyperion.

The 2nd I don't think has been been released before. it is not such a good recording physically, and the presence of some surface noise makes it sound like an LP transfer rather than remastering. However this is not enough to detract from what is a wonderful, electrifying performance, which again, is superior to Handley's Hyperion account, and Brabbins BBC broadcast from 2021.

Offline DavidW

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #515 on: June 22, 2022, 02:47:44 PM »
Thanks for the heads up!  I love the Davis and Groves recording.  They brought more passion than Handley does.  I appreciate that Handley recorded the cycle... but whenever I have the opportunity to hear other conductors I will jump on it.  I'm hoping that Horenstein recording will be same story as the Davis and Groves release (a bit more passion than Handley).

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #516 on: June 22, 2022, 03:39:52 PM »
I think with the Handley cycle (and perhaps also in Handley recordings of other works where he was first conducting previously unrecorded or little recorded works) he just tried to get a a very plain, non-idiosyncratic version down where all the tempi were right, all the notes were right &c. I mean I salute Handley's career and his work on so many neglected composers, but he isn't in the same league as Horenstein or Boult or Groves.

You've reminded me of the Groves' Simpson 3 from a broadcast at the Proms in the 1960s, but I don't know Davis' recording.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #517 on: June 23, 2022, 12:19:55 AM »
Interesting. I'll have to do some comparisons (and finish doing the comparisons of Handley with the other recordings available, I'd only done it for 2 symphonies thus far as noted upthread).
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Offline foxandpeng

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #518 on: June 23, 2022, 05:18:33 AM »
Thank you. Not landed on Spotify yet, but I will be watching carefully!
“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

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Offline DavidW

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Re: Robert Simpson(1921-1997)
« Reply #519 on: June 23, 2022, 05:38:32 AM »
You've reminded me of the Groves' Simpson 3 from a broadcast at the Proms in the 1960s, but I don't know Davis' recording.



This is the recording.  Great stuff!  btw for anyone interested I still have a second new copy of the cd.  Arkiv shipped me two by accident and didn't want the extra back.  If anyone wants it shoot me a PM.