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Robert Simpson (1921-1997) was arguably Britain's most important composer since Vaughan Williams; he was certainly one of the century's most powerful and original symphonists anywhere. He completed 11 symphonies, concertos for violin, piano, flute and cello, 15 string quartets, and two choral compositions. Simpson used those large-scale forms to grapple with particular compositional problems, often with considerable ingenuity. Most employ the structural principle that makes his music so singularly compelling: the tension between opposing tonalities - a reflection, perhaps, of the…
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