Simpson: String Quartets Nos 7 & 8

Simpson: String Quartets Nos 7 & 8

Delmé Quartet


This recording contains two great string quartets by a master of the genre, Robert Simpson (1921–1997). Simpson always had a particular devotion to this medium and once remarked that if he were condemned to write only one kind of music he would choose the string quartet. Like those of two predecessors, Beethoven and Bartók, Simpson’s quartets spanned his whole composing life. He wrote fifteen. Not only do they contain music of an attractive and exciting kind, but they also illustrate this composer’s abiding interest in organic development and the problems of organizing large musical structures. Increasingly, too, they reflect his fascination with musical motion and with energy. In particular, the seventh and eighth quartets illustrate Simpson’s interest in the possibilities of everyday musical sounds when approached as if one had never heard them before. We have here two powerful masterworks which must surely take their place in the quartet literature of the second half of the twentieth century as did those of Bartók in the literature of the first.

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