Lyrita New Release                                                                                       

Release Date: 2nd April 2021

SRCD 389 Robert Simpson (1921-1997)

A Centenary Release

Premieres from the Royal Festival Hall, London

Symphony No. 5 (1972)

London Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Davis, conductor, BBC Broadcast 3 May 1973

Symphony No. 6 (1977)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Groves, conductor, BBC Broadcast 8 April 1980

Lyrita is delighted to celebrate the centenary of Robert Simpson’s birth with the release of two BBC recordings:  the world premiere performances of Simpson’s Symphony No. 5 and Symphony No. 6. This is the first time these performances have been released since their premieres in 1973 and 1980.

Simpson’s Symphony No. 5 received its premiere on 3 May 1973 at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis.  Edward Greenfield in The Guardian said: “The performance of Robert Simpson Symphony No. 5 was one of the finest premieres of a major orchestral work I can remember, fearless in its physical impact.” Desmond Shawe-Taylor’s review in the Sunday Times headed “Power of Robert Simpson” and observed that the 5th Symphony “compels all but the most rigidly advanced of listeners to take a closer look at this remarkable composer.”  Robert Matthew-Walker said: “The performance was electrifying, and the young Andrew Davis was at his considerable best. The effect of the opening three or four minutes of the Symphony will remain indelibly etched in my memory.”

The premiere of Simpson’s Sixth Symphony was on on 8 April 1980 at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Charles GrovesEdward Greenfield wrote in his Guardian review: “Happily Dr Simpson’s metaphors are incidental to his genuinely musical imagination. So, after the fragmentary germinal motives at the start, he turns very quickly to a bold tonal melody such as Nielsen might have written. One might even say that another of Dr Simpson’s great influences is represented too; he has often acknowledged his debt to Beethoven and here he has in effect written a Pastoral symphony for the 20th century, a view of nature observed not through the eye of the individual but through the microscope.”

Listen here: Symphony No. 5 soundcloud extract:

Listen here: Symphony No. 6 soundcloud extract: