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Simpson: String Quartets no 7 & 8 / Delmé String Quartet

Album Summary

>Simpson, Robert : Quartet for Strings No 7
>Simpson, Robert : Quartet for Strings No 8

Notes & Reviews:

'Some of the finest music by a composer whose neglect has been almost criminal ... The two quartets here must surely number among his most profound works, and indeed could hold their own against virtually any written in a century which has witnessed so many masterly contributions to the genre. The Delmé play like men committed to the validity of every note ... with such a profound sense of inwardness and inevitability that one can only marvel' (Hi-Fi News)

'A valuable and rewarding issue' (BBC Record Review)

'Magnificent playing and fine recording' (The Sunday Times)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Quiet music with a sense of purpose and forward- looking destiny; slow music which bears the promise of a controlled release of energy, these are rare and treasurable qualities in music of our time, and they make their presence felt at the beginnings of Simpson's Seventh and Eighth Quartets. How he progresses through subdued scherzo to vehement climax is something to reflect on at length, and with further acquaintance comes the Beethovenian thrill of hearing the music think. But at first these things just steal up on you and take the breath away.

The Seventh Quartet is dedicated to Susi Jeans, widow of astronomer and mathematician Sir James Jeans, the Eighth is dedicated to entomologist David Gillett and his wife. Both works draw on the kind of motion suggested by those areas of scientific enquiry. On the other hand the Ninth calls up what would seem to be the bitterest enemy of forward movement - the palindrome; 32 variations and a fugue, in fact, on the minuet from Haydn's Symphony No 47 and all of them, like the original theme, palindromic. If Simpson's powers of invention falter at any stage in this hour-long tour de force you would be hard pushed to discover where. But then this music so completely absorbing that the necessary critical detachment is difficult to achieve. The only reservation that did register was over recording quality, which for the Ninth Quartet is disappointingly boxy - sensuous appeal isn't what this music is about, but a more ingratiating acoustic wouldn't do it any harm - and to hear the Seventh without the distraction, however faint, of traffic noise would be preferable.

The Delme Quartet's performances are outstandingly dedicated. The Ninth Quartet was composed for their 20th anniversary and they prove themselves entirely worthy of the honour.


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Works Details

>Simpson, Robert : Quartet for Strings No 7
  • Notes: 11/09/1983/11/10/1983
  • Running Time: 19 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Simpson, Robert : Quartet for Strings No 8
  • Notes: 11/09/1983/11/10/1983
  • Running Time: 31 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern