Five Simpson works to discover
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’.
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.
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