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Posted by Geoff Diggines on October 20, 2016, 9:47 am
I noticed that the Lyrita compendium of British Symphonies included nothing by Robert Simpson. Why is he so neglected, apart from Vernon Handley's superb recordings of the symphonies? I can't remember any Simpson from the BBC's Radio 3. I think Andrew Davis performed his 5th Symphony at the Proms, more than 10 years ago! And Simpson was for a while a Radio 3 producer! But, in a sense, Simpson was not really a 'British' composer, being more influenced by classical sonata form(particularly Beethoven), and the symphonies of Bruckner, and particularly Carl Nielsen. His studies of these two composers are still among the best. He was a major symphonist (eleven symphonies)and composer of superb string quartets, concerti, and choral and piano music. His 8th and 9th symphonies are truly colossal,equal to Bruckner's later symphonies in their range and symphonic complexity. After a Bruckner concert at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw some years ago, I asked Riccardo Chailly if he had thought of recording some Simpson, but he had never heard of him! The Handley recordings remain indispensable, but I would love to hear one of his symphonies played by an internationally great orchestra like the Concertgebouw, or Cleveland orchestras, to name just two.
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