Robert Simpson (composer)

Robert Wilfred Levick Simpson ( born March 2, 1921 in Leamington Spa, † 21 November 1997 in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland ) was a British composer and writer on music.


Simpsons father, Robert Warren Simpson, was British; his mother, Helena Hendrika Govaars, came from the Netherlands. He studied at the Westminster City School with Herbert Howells. In 1946 he married Bessie Fraser; after whose death in 1981 he married Angela Musgrave 1982, a relative of the composer Thea Musgrave colleague. Apart from music was his great passion of astronomy; He was a member of the British Astronomical Association and the Royal Astronomical Society. He has received numerous honors, so in 1952 the Doctor of Music from the University of Durham, 1956, Carl Nielsen Gold Medal ( for his book Carl Nielsen, symphonist, 1952 published), and in 1962 the Medal of Honor of the Bruckner Society of America.


Simpson occurred mainly as a composer of string quartets, 15 (No. 9 is a sequence of 32 Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Joseph Haydn ) and 11 symphonies forth. In his symphonies by Anton Bruckner influences are noticeable (especially in architectural terms ), especially in the earlier one will sometimes reminiscent of Carl Nielsen. The musical language is tonal and often dissonant, but always based on a tonal core. Elements in Simpsons symphonic work are the large size of his works, which are often based entirely on a single rhythmic pulse and explore the tensions between the keys or each interval in a previously unknown depth.

It is said that Robert Simpson wrote 4 symphonies and are destroyed ( a serial method used thereof ), before he published his first symphony.

The first symphony was also his doctoral thesis at the University of Durham. The work, in three connected sentences, uses a single ground pulse doubled faster pace, and is bisected in the slower pace. In addition, the keys ace and it represents the work against each other. The orchestra is used in standard instrumentation, but high D- trumpets are used instead of trumpets in B. The premiere took over the Danish State Radio Orchestra Copenhagen.

In the 2nd Symphony Simpson, to use the same cast as Ludwig van Beethoven in his first two symphonies decided, but again with high trumpets in D. The dedicatee, Anthony Bernard, conducted the premiere with the London Chamber Orchestra. The tonal conflict of this symphony is focused on H and the keys a major third above or below (G and Es).

The third symphony is dedicated to Havergal Brian Simpson in musical matters as well as advising vice versa. This symphony is in two sets of C major and B in a conflict that is resolved at the end in a seventh chord. The work was premiered by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

For the first time a scherzo Simpson writes in his Symphony No. 4; this rate quotes Joseph Haydn 's 76th Symphony in E flat major.

A Ganztonakkord dominates the 5th Symphony, at least indirectly, even if he does not ever heard. Composed of three nested tenths (C and E, D and F sharp, As and C) to this chord " the part of the mind that independently observed one, regardless of what experiences you have collected " represent. The London Symphony Orchestra, the work is dedicated, the work led to the first time.

The 6th Symphony Simpsons focuses on a general description of the miracle of life. The one-movement work is dedicated to the renowned gynecologist Ian Craft.

The idea at the 7th Symphony was to write a work which should be recorded only on LP before it was performed in public; However, this failed, because there was but first played in a concert. The composition should be based primarily on a single listener at a certain time, and not to a larger number. Since the plate intake should also include the 2nd Symphony, Simpson decided to limit their duration to less than 30 minutes, and use the same instruments as in the 2nd Symphony.

The Royal Philharmonic Society, funded by the Arts Council of Great Britain, was Simpson's Symphony No. 8 in order, which was dedicated to the painter Anthony Dorrell and his wife Daphne ( Dorrell had portrayed Simpson ). Simpson was still interested in the idea of ​​writing for only a single listener. He held talks with Dorrell, to find out what would like to hear this kind of symphony. Jerzy Semkow directed the Royal Danish Orchestra in the premiere. The symphony calls for a large orchestra including clarinet, four horns and timpani doubled.

Simpson dedicated the 9th Symphony and his wife Angela. The work consists of a set and is supported by an unchanged basic pulse. The first performance was playing the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vernon Handley. Interestingly, Anton Bruckner 's Symphony No. 3 in D minor is cited, a work that had Simpson as though criticized as classy, but faulty performance.

The 10th Symphony is dedicated to Vernon Handley. Each of the four movements begins in the same way, with a sharp major - Terzsextakkord and an upward octave leap. The same gesture completes the work.

The two-movement Symphony 11 as the 2nd and 7th symphony composed for an orchestra in the classic line, was first performed in England. Your dedicatee is the conductor Matthew Taylor.

Book publications

As a musicologist, Simpson worked on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Anton Bruckner, Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius. He authored two books on Bruckner, Bruckner and the Symphony (1960) and The Essence of Bruckner ( 1967); a book on Carl Nielsen, Carl Nielsen, symphonist, books about other composers as well as essays, moreover, he took over the role of the publisher in some publications.