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CD Review

Robert Simpson

Late Orchestral Works

  • Symphony #11 (1990)
  • Variations on a theme by Nielsen
City of London Sinfonia/Matthew Taylor
Hyperion CDA67500 55m DDD
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Hyperion's Simpson cycle comes to an end with this rather earthbound 11th Symphony that could be considered as the least attractive of the set. Matthew Taylor provides a good, workmanlike performance of the symphony that does not set any houses on fire although it must be said that Simpson does seem to be strangely uninspired in this, his final symphony.

Being a huge fan of that great Dane, Carl August Nielsen, I really enjoyed the deftly worked Variations on a theme by Carl Nielsen. The theme comes from some obscure wind piece and is fascinatingly reworked and rehashed to sound quite disarmingly beautiful. Taylor understands the idiom quite perfectly and he manages to bring a grandeur and nobility to the admittedly slight work.

At just under 55 minutes, the disc is rather a short changed experience but Simpson completists will obviously want the final instalment in the series. Matthew Taylor provides ood notes and the recorded sound is quite excellent. Although I had previously enjoyed the various symphonies from Robert Simpson, I must say that his last one is not up to the usual standards that one expects from this composer.

Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech