Thursday, December 27, 2018

A Master is not a consolation


Writing my post about comfort music reminded me of the saying attributed to the 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint Kabir that a Master is not a consolation. Robert Simpson was a Master composer who did not believe in writing comfort music. Because of this he committed the sin of writing music that was too listenable for William Glock and the avant-garde tastemakers, and not listenable enough for mainstream audiences. Vernon Handley's cycle of his symphonies vindicates Simpson's position as an overlooked Master; but Sir Adrian Boult's pioneering 1956 recording of the First Symphony should not be ignored. It would be nice to think that Robert Simpson's day will come. But I fear that the prevailing dogma means that without a posthumous gender change that is very unlikely.

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1 comment:

Pliable said...

A plea for Hyperion to bundle their invaluable cycle of Robert Simpson's Quartets into an affordable box in the same way they have bundled Tod Handley's priceless cycle of the Symphonies.