Top Marks

Five Simp­son works to dis­cover

BBC Music Magazine - - Mark Simpson -

Night Mu­sic

This large one-move­ment work for cello and pi­ano is in­tense and rhyth­mic, in­flu­enced by dreams, night­mares, moon­light and dark­ness. Jump­ing from one mu­si­cal idea to the next, it con­jures up the im­age of a ‘night chase’.

The Im­mor­tal

Simp­son’s 2015 or­a­to­rio, based on John Gray’s book The Im­mor­tal­i­sa­tion Com­mis­sion, ex­per­i­ments with a wide va­ri­ety of ef­fects, in­clud­ing screams and whis­pers, in its ex­plo­ration of para­nor­mal ac­tiv­ity and Vic­to­rian ob­ses­sion with the oc­cult.

Cello Con­certo

Com­pleted in 2018, Simp­son’s con­certo ex­plores the cello’s tone and lyri­cal na­ture rather than its vir­tu­osic po­ten­tial. The cel­list drives the first move­ment for­ward be­fore a more serene sec­ond move­ment and a fi­nale full of rhythm and en­ergy.


Is­rafel for full or­ches­tra is in­spired by Edgar Allen Poe’s poem about a singing Qur’anic an­gel – its con­trast­ing two parts com­bine hec­tic string writ­ing with easy-on­the-ear har­monies blasted out by basses and brass.


Simp­son’s 2016 opera is set in a Liverpool gay night­club. Lyri­cal strings and dark wind scor­ing char­ac­terise the piece that re­volves around a toi­let at­ten­dant, an an­gry soul look­ing for an­swers, a bo­hemian in­tel­lec­tual and a drag queen.

Out­ward fac­ing: Simp­son’s out­put is var­ied

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